Report: recommendations on building a more resilient Ohio food system


Report: recommendations on building a more resilient Ohio food system

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of local and regional food systems in Ohio and a new report found that state and federal investments must be made to build a more resilient system.

The report, Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System, was released by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Farmers Market Network, Ohio Food Policy Network, and Produce Perks Midwest.

It captures how local and regional food systems and nutrition assistance were impacted by COVID-19 and offers eight policy recommendations Ohio’s decisions-makers can implement.

Jaime Hadji with Ohio Farmers Market Network says one of the recommendations is establish an interagency food group to find ways to fund and build farmers market capacity.

“Ohio’s decision makers need to invest and together we will ensure a stronger food system that’s capable of serving all of our communities,” she says.

Amalie Lipstreu, policy director with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, says the coalition is recommending establishing another work group to identify areas where creation of food processing facilities are needed and how they can be financed.

“This is an investment in health, wellness, and jobs for Ohio,” she says.

The report is urging the passage of the HEROES Act with aid for underserved farmers and those selling local food systems.

“Their success will contribute to the resilience of our food supply,” Lipstreu says.

Tevis Foreman, executive director of Producer Perks Midwest, says online infrastructure for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program nutrition programming, like Producer Perks, is critical.

“It is essential that we now invest in the development of online infrastructure that supports healthy food purchases for low income consumers and supports Ohio farmers and small business markets and retailers,” he says.

Other policy recommendations include: the passage of the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, changes to state contract bidding requirements for local food purchasing, support of the SNAP Online Expansion and Delivery Act, and passage of Senate Bill 121, which support nutrition education.

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