‘Year of Food’ campaign in Bloomington hopes to tackle food insecurity problem

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Bloomington is one of many places where people deal with food insecurity, which is why the City has launched a new campaign “Year of Food.”

“We have food deserts in our population where people live in poverty and they don’t have easy access to walk to the grocery store that has local food,” said Bloomington’s Assistant Director of Sustainability Autumn Salamack.

The “Year of Food” campaign originated from the City’s Sustainability Action Plan.

“That plan identifies specific goals related to local food and agriculture. Also working with the community to increase access to healthy local food to all segments of the community,” Salamack said.

They also want to help local farmers through the new initiative. The City is using grant money to pay for a new position to help during the campaign.

“For three years we will also have staff working directly with local growers and institutional buyers like schools, hospitals, and universities. This is to look at how we can really scale up market readiness for small and medium size farmers,” Salamack explained.

Bloomington’s Assistant Director of Sustainability Autumn Salamack said helping farmers will have an impact on the food insecurity problem. She said farmers sometimes have a hard time trying to figure out where to sell their product or what to do what their excess produce.

“Could we take mobile trucks to different neighborhoods with fresh produce and make that available? Could we work with retailers to try and increase fresh offerings that are available for snap recipients,” Salamack said.

The City plans to partner with different organizations along the way, like Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

“We applaud any efforts to draw attention to the problem of food insecurity in our community. It is something unfortunately that has gone on for a long time and shows no time of really going away anytime soon,” said Hoosier Hills Food Bank Executive Director & CEO Julio Alonso.

Alonso applauds the City for making steps to bring awareness to the problem thousands of Hoosiers face.

Salamack said the first year of the campaign will be the planning stage to figure out how to best fix the problem. The City is hosting several events for the campaign and encourages locals to get involved.

To keep up with the latest on the campaign, click here.

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