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October 1, 2014 / Ciara Myers, Editor

Is October Food Month?

By Lindsay Smith
Consultant
Washington Regional Food Funders

A WRAG colleague told me the other day that it seems like food has been in the news a lot lately. I have to agree. Whether it’s a story on urban agriculture, food enterprises, new approaches to addressing food insecurity – you name it – there’s so much going on in our regional food system.

Get ready for a lot more food news in October from around the Greater Washington region. If ever there was a time to explore the different issues within our local food system, this is the month to do it!

Washington Regional Food Funders urge you to take the first DMV SNAP (food stamp) Challenge coordinated by D.C. Hunger SolutionsMaryland Hunger Solutions, and Virginia Hunger Solutions from October 6-12. The purpose is to raise awareness of the difficult choices that low-income families make to avoid hunger and access nutritious food with limited resources. In this case, the average SNAP benefit level is just $1.55 per meal. For many participating families, stagnant wages, along with housing, healthcare, and other costs make SNAP one of their primary sources of income for supporting their nutritional needs.  The challenge is most effective when followed up by action for stronger supports for low-income families. Also during the DMV SNAP Challenge Week, the Montgomery County Food Security Collaborative takes a fresh look at addressing food insecurity and hunger.

Are you interested in how community organizations, philanthropy, local, state, and federal government can leverage federal resources to increase access to fresh, healthy,locally grown food for low-income communities and others? WRFF welcomes all WRAG members and nonmembers working with U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to join them on Friday, October 17th at 10 AM for Funding Greater Washington’s Food System: Opportunities Available through the 2014 Farm Bill.

Another date to put on your calendar is Saturday, October 25th – Food Day! Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. With thousands of events across the country each year, there are also tons of local events planned on and before October 25th.

As I think about the interesting opportunities to get involved in our local food system this month, I also have to reflect on the year thus far – alright…maybe that’s for another blog post, but a highlight comes from one of WRAG’s Brightest Minds Speakers in 2014, local culinary historian, Michael Twitty. Michael was recently asked by Eater.com how food can change the world. Congrats to Michael and some of the other national thought leaders in the Greater Washington region for their inclusion in this compilation.

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