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Asparagus tips look yummy, yummy, yummy. Candied yams inside my tummy

– lyrics “Ham n’ Eggs” by A Tribe Called Quest

Over the next cou­ple of years the Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity will be focus­ing a bit more on food pol­icy. Now, food pol­icy is almost as broad of a topic area as sus­tain­abil­ity itself so let me nar­row it down somewhat.

Our office applied for a grant, in part­ner­ship with the Hori­zon Foun­da­tion, to pur­sue some analy­sis and action around cer­tain food pol­icy ini­tia­tives. Here is what we said in the grant.

Howard County, Mary­land will cre­ate a community-wide food enter­prise sys­tem that is focused on increas­ing access to local, more afford­able, fruits and veg­eta­bles as well as cre­at­ing an infra­struc­ture that can sup­port the sus­tain­abil­ity of area farms. We will focus on food pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­b­u­tion, con­sump­tion, and recy­cling that is eco­nom­i­cally viable, envi­ron­men­tally sound, and socially equitable.

Here are some bul­let points on what we mean when we say we will pur­sue food pol­icy issues and what that might mean in the future:

  • Sup­port mech­a­nisms for gain­ing bet­ter access to locally farmed food. This will mean sup­port for the con­sumer and for the farmer to get their prod­uct directly to local residents.
  • Bet­ter access to afford­able healthy fruits and vegetables.
  • Bal­ti­more City’s food pol­icy pro­gram also focuses on the prob­lem of “food deserts” where res­i­dents do not have access to gro­cery stores within a des­ig­nated dis­tance. This is less of a prob­lem in Howard County but still a prob­lem in some areas, specif­i­cally for res­i­dents with­out cars.
  • Access and avail­abil­ity of locally grown and healthy food at large pub­lic insti­tu­tions such as the Com­mu­nity Col­lege, the hos­pi­tal (yes I know it is not actu­ally a pub­lic hos­pi­tal), the schools, gov­ern­ment offices, and the deten­tion center.

There are many more pos­si­bil­i­ties but this is a good start. Stay tuned and please let us know if you have ideas, con­cerns, or just want to help out.

JD Feld­mark
Jan­u­ary 2013

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Green Tip

Light soy candles.The oil byproducts in most candles can’t hold a flame to options like soy, since they burn longer and take less of a toll on the planet.