Food@100%: Innovation 9
Strengthening Local Services
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project 1: The “know your state and federal options” project
Rare is the urban or rural food support program or agency that doesn’t get by without a lot of help and guidance from the state or federal government (or both). Knowing a bit about those relationships can provide you with helpful background and information and possibly aid relationship-building to empower funding for a local food programs. You will also want to research what states have done to encourage companies to not waste perfectly fine food.
6 states have laws encouraging food donation to prevent waste: https://aae.how/110
Project 2: The “we need a state coalition to make great things happen” project
Through collaboration and the strategic use of data and technology, county players working together can find a way to ensure that no child or parent lacks access to a stable, secure and nutritious food supply. We are not trying to simplify one of our nation’s and the states’ most complex challenges in a sentence. We are advocating for the start of a long-term, local dialogue about how to end food access disparities. This is a decades-old problem that needs to involve both the public and private sector. This particular project is about joining or creating a countywide and statewide network of health advocates and providers who believe that accessible and affordable food (especially if there’s an emergency) is not a luxury. It’s what civilized governments ensure.
A coalition will allow you to have a strong voice in your community as well as your city, county and state government. You may find that local lawmakers, while sympathetic to this issue, do not see addressing food access disparities as the role of county or city government. For this reason, coalitions matter and they can be a force for awareness.
Your county and state network can educate local lawmakers about a new role for government: ensuring no child, student or parent is marginalized because they can’t afford food. And this coalition can also work to elect officials who will prioritize access to stable and affordable food for all. Using technology to stakeholders with shared visions, goals, activities, use of data, use of communication and messaging and evaluation processes. Your action team starts with identifying who is in the lead with food quality and access reform.