Unique Partnership Launches Local Food Action Plan

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Director of Development Valerie Heiby

Director of Development
Valerie Heiby

Everyone should have access to nutritious and affordable food. Finance Fund, along with many others in the local community, are working hard to make that happen. It has been my great privilege to represent Finance Fund on a terrific Working Committee to develop the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action Plan which launched this week.

From the Plan’s Executive Summary, here’s a snapshot of some of Franklin County’s food-related issues:

  • 1 in 5 children in Columbus are food insecure and are more likely to experience chronic disease. (2014 Franklin County Children’s Report; Community Research Partners)
  • In the 2014/15 school year, 30% of pre-K and 28% of kindergarten students in Columbus City Schools had a Body Mass Index at or above the 85th percentile, putting them at increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other weight related issues. (Columbus City Schools Wellness Initiative)
  • Less than 25% of adults in Franklin County report consuming fruit and vegetables the recommended five or more times a day. (Franklin County Health Map 13)
  • About 13% of the material entering the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill each year is food waste. (2013 Waste Characterization Study of the Municipal Solid Waste Entering the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill)
  • In 2010, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) described 275,641 Franklin County residents (24%) as having low access to grocery stores with 72,902 of those also identified as low income. (Food Access Research Atlas; United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service)

Work on the plan began in November 2014 when Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, led by councilmember Priscilla Tyson and Commissioner John O’Grady, joined up with not-for-profit Local Matters. This unique partnership conducted community-level food planning meetings, stakeholder interviews, surveys and public feedback sessions. More than 1,000 residents and stakeholders provided valuable insights that led to the development of the Local Food Action Plan.

LFAP2The plan is built around four major goals:
1. Enhance coordination and communication among existing food resources and agencies.
2. Improve access to and education about healthy affordable food and local food.
3. Increase the role of food in economic development.
4. Prevent food-related waste.

It is intended to create a strong and resilient local food system, inform public policy, inspire program development, foster community collaborations, guide local funding strategies, and establish the foundation for successful philanthropic and public grant applications.

You can view the full plan and learn more about the development process here. For information about Finance Fund Capital Corporation’s Healthy Food for Ohio flexible funding program for healthy food retailers please visit our website.

 

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