Food Equity Advisor
As part of SLCgreen’s commitment to equity and sustainability, we are beginning a
new program to help residents from marginalized communities participate in how Salt Lake City tackles healthy food access.
What is healthy food access?
- Having *enough* to eat (1 in 8 Utahns struggles with hunger, and 1 in 7 children are hungry, according to the Feeding America organization).
- Having the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. This means that healthy food is not only available at nearby grocery stores and corner stores, but that people have the ability to get there to buy it.
- Healthy food access is closely tied with income. New research is showing that “food deserts” are not just about location, but about the ability of people to afford healthy food.
These are issues that the Sustainability Department– and Salt Lake City as a whole– cares deeply about. We cannot have a healthy, thriving community if people don’t have enough to eat.
SLCgreen has developed a robust Local Food program over the past decade to increase the opportunities for growing and buying healthy, local food.
But we must do more.
There are policy, economic, communications, and structural factors at play that are still a barrier to many people in eating enough, and eating healthfully. Thankfully, there are many organizations and government agencies working on this issue, and we’re grateful for the strong community focused on food, poverty, nutrition, policy, and public health in Utah.
This year, we’re excited to dig deeper as a city department with the launch of a new program specifically around Food Access & Equity:
Resident Food Equity Advisors
Salt Lake City’s Food Policy Council championed a Community Food Assessment in 2013. One of the priority areas identified in the assessment is improving healthy food access for communities that persistently suffer from food hardship.
Resident Food Equity Advisors Goals:
- Coordinate a community engagement process to increase input from marginalized and vulnerable communities
- Implement equitable food policies through inclusive community engagement and resident-informed solutions
Objectives: Gather community input and increase engagement on a grassroots level; create opportunities for culture, story, and tradition sharing; identify ways that people live in their community to know where gaps exist; increase collaboration and partnerships to reach and impact more of the community.
Project Plan: We aim to identify individuals from vulnerable and marginalized communities that can bring under-represented or absent voices into the food access conversation. This group of Salt Lake City residents will engage in a collaborative, inclusive process to strategize solutions that will be most beneficial for their community in improving healthy food access. The City has set aside funding to implement the group’s recommendations to improve existing policies and projects or create new ones through a participatory budgeting process which will be implemented in the second phase of this project.
We need your help!
We’re asking for our community members’ assistance in spreading the word and recruiting applicants to serve as Salt Lake City Resident Food Equity Advisors.
Selection Process: The selection process will prioritize individuals that are low-income and carry significant risk factors associated with food hardship (lack of transportation, low levels of education, weak social networks, limited social capital, employment status, etc.) Individuals that are passionate about food access, are willing to engage in complex discussions, and excited about championing community-driven solutions are encouraged to apply.
Implementation plan and timeline: Advisors attend 8+ meetings and are compensated for their time. The Resident Food Equity Advisors group will be comprised of 14-16 individuals. Meetings will take place monthly starting in February and be held in locations accessible via public transport. Childcare, meals, and translation will be provided when needed. Each meeting will be 3 hours which includes mealtime plus an all-day workshop in June.
Questions? Feel free to reach out to our Program Manager Supreet Gill. She can be contacted at Supreet.Gill@slcgov.com or 801-839-9197.
We look forward to a new level of engagement on food equity, and partnering to create a healthy, more sustainable SLC for everyone!
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