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June 24, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Making healthy food the new normal

By Lindsay Smith
Consultant
Washington Regional Food Funders

On June 17th, the WRAG Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a policy that will shape the efforts of the Washington Regional Food Funders (WRFF) Working Group. The policy calls for a range of activities to make access to healthy, good food the norm throughout the Greater Washington region.

Given the upcoming elections in the District and Maryland, and the stated interest in healthy food noted by Virginia’s new First Lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, the Food Funders believe that there is a ripe opportunity to brief these leaders on what is needed to develop an equitable regional food system in Greater Washington, and the benefits that are to be gained from this. To this end, WRFF will use their recently adopted policy statement as the basis to develop a policy briefing to share with the First Lady, as well as the D.C. mayoral and MD gubernatorial candidates later this summer.

WRFF has observed many positive programs underway to strengthen the local food system in Greater Washington – indeed, WRFF and other WRAG members support a number of them. However, in most cases there is no regional approach for taking action to invest in infrastructure, or for sharing policy and program successes that could be scaled more broadly throughout the region. To this end, WRFF will ask incoming elected officials to take several actions within their first few months in office to elevate several regional food system issues, and to learn from grantees and other stakeholders about on-the-ground solutions that are addressing these issues. Making access to healthy, good food the norm will require the effort and expertise of farmers, fishers, food processors, distributors, community organizations, advocates, policy experts, institutions like schools and hospitals, philanthropy, all levels of government, and more. For WRFF, there could be no better opportunity to bring this issue to our region’s incoming elected leaders.

Related: This year, WRAG is also placing a spotlight on food funding in the Greater Washington region. Several months ago, WRAG released What Funders Need to Know about the Food System, and later this year we will include a special section on this topic in the 2014 edition of Our Region, Our Giving. WRAG Members: If your organization hasn’t had a chance to complete the annual giving survey yet, please do so soon and be on the look-out for some food-related questions! To get a link to the survey, please contact Rebekah Seder at seder@washingtongrantmakers.org.

 

 

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