Rep. Stanley Works to Combat Food Insecurity and Support the Massachusetts’ Food System during Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on food security and infrastructure. Demand at food banks has skyrocketed and local producers, who once relied on the restaurant industry, struggle to find buyers. As a member of the Food System Caucus (FSC), Rep. Stanley has been working hard to combat food insecurity and fortify the Commonwealth’s food infrastructure during this time of hardship.
The FSC focuses on three primary areas identified as priorities in the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan accepted by the Massachusetts Food Policy Council in 2015:
• Food access/insecurity – reducing waste, hunger, and food insecurity while making available more fresh healthy food to everyone who lives in the Commonwealth.
• Farmland – protecting the land and resources necessary to produce food, while maximizing the environmental benefits of agriculture and fishing, and the preservation of agricultural land.
• Economic development – recognizing the significant impact to local, regional, and state economies, supporting the increase of production, sales, and consumption of Massachusetts grown food, and creating jobs and improving wages in food and farming.
A key initiative to come out of the work of the Task Force, which the FSC has worked hard to advance, is an emphasis on the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). HIP is administered through the MA Department of Transitional Assistance and combats food insecurity and supports local farms by providing one dollar back on SNAP EBT cards for each dollar spent on eligible produce. The Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program (FSIG) was also created out of the Task Force and is backed by the FSC. The first round of FSIG awards was recently announced, including $3M in grant money distributed to various projects that will reduce food insecurity and fortify the Commonwealth’s food infrastructure. The $3M is the first round of funding to come out of the total $36M program.
Follow the Food System Caucus on Twitter at @MAafoodcaucus and visit the official website at https://www.mafoodsystemcaucus.com/.