I have exciting news to share with you. But first, I want to let you know there will not be a Free Community Meal on New Year’s Day. The next meal will be on January 17th. And we do have bingo at St Peter Roman Catholic Church on January 8th. Doors open at 1 pm. More info on both will be shared next week.
Food insecurity has been around worldwide forever. In 2014 WCHI worked towards alleviating food insecurity in Whitehall and Coplay. In 2015, there was a Lehigh Valley wide food insecurity meeting held at Sacred Heart Hospital. Whitehall Mayor, Ed Hozza at the time, and I were invited with around 100 Lehigh Valley people attending. I became part of the LV Food Policy Council (LVFPC) and serve on the Food Access Work Group. I have worked ever since with Susan Dalandan and several other amazing people who want to help end food insecurity.
This info now comes from Susan Dalandan, Coordinator of LVFPC, and from Governor Wolf ‘s office through a press release from emails sent to me this week. I am sharing portions of the info since my article must remain short.
From Susan, “LVFPC has much to be proud of in our past seven years of work. Our task forces and work groups remain committed to working together. They continue to bring new partners to the table in addressing problems in the Lehigh Valley food system and continue to influence regional and state policy.
We are so excited about the final accomplishment of this year! Former Executive Director of Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Dawn Plummer, and LVFPC Coordinator, Susan Dalandan, wrote the position paper for Governor Wolf and Secretary Redding on the creation of a state-wide food policy council. We are so happy that, after long fourth quarter negotiations with the Governor’s office and the legislative office of the Department of Agriculture, Governor Wolf announced the creation of a state food policy council. This will further the work of the Department of Agriculture and the state’s commitment to a strong food system in Pennsylvania.”
From Governor Wolf and the press release: In an action finalizing his legacy of support to improve access to food for all Pennsylvanians, Governor Tom Wolf today (December 15th) signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Food Policy Council.
“Food is a basic human right that has the power to change lives,” said Gov. Wolf. “This Food Policy Council will work for the people of Pennsylvania; to improve their everyday lives and our collective future. It is our responsibility and our duty to take hunger off the table.”
The Pennsylvania Food Policy Council will build on this progress through continued evaluation of the issues facing Pennsylvania’s food system and developing strategies to improve food security and nutrition while reducing food waste. The duties of the council – which will include a director along with the secretaries of the departments of Aging, Agriculture, Education, Environmental Protection, Health, Human Services, and Labor & Industry – will include: 1. Making recommendations to promote coordination, communication, and joint planning between agency programs and external partners in the private sector to support the food system. 2. Developing recommendations on improved partnerships to better reach those at the highest risk of hunger and expand food and nutrition delivery systems. 3. Developing recommendations to reduce food waste across Pennsylvania. 4. Developing and implementing strategies to expand the use of Pennsylvania agricultural products in public and private food assistance programs. And 5. Developing a Food Action Plan to be updated on a biennial basis and include a strategic plan to accomplish goals and measure progress.
From Shari, I am so thrilled that we now have a Pennsylvania Food Policy Council so we all can work together statewide and locally to alleviate food insecurity. This is great news. What a wonderful way to end 2022 and start 2023!!
Happy New Year!!