Add Food Security Policy to the SLP Comprehensive Plan for Resilient Health Equity

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SLP Community Food Task Force Resolution (DRAFT PROPOSAL)

Food Security at the intersection of Equity, Resiliency and Sustainability

Be it resolved that the SLP Community Food Security Task Force requests that the topic of Food Security be addressed in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.

Be it further resolved that elected officials establish a directive akin to the "Healthy and Sustainable Food for San Francisco" Executive Directive.

SLP must commit to doing all they can to improve the economic viability of food access, production and distribution in the city and school district and to increase access to and affordability of healthy food in all our neighborhoods. 

  • We must work to address barriers facing those who are Food Insecure in the 10-year Comprehensive Plan to eliminate hunger in St. Louis Park. 
  • Economic development in production and distribution of sustainable, local food access will raise health equity in our city. 
  • Our local elected officials must consider the impacts to the local food system when making decisions regarding city operations, growth management, transportation, energy, water and air quality, and economic development.

Submitted by:

  • Health in the Park Better Eating Champions: Sharon Lehrman and Lynda Enright (SNAC Member)
  • ESC Commission (by unanimous vote),
  • SLP SEEDS Board, Advisory Board and Interns (by unanimous vote),
  • Park Nicollet Food Security Team, Allyson Hayward and Kelly Kramer, and
  • Over six hundred community members, including many physicians, nutritionists, teachers and those who are or have been Food Insecure- (see petition turned in to Council, April of 2017.)

SLP Vision 3.0 Values:

  • Equity and Inclusion- Unheard voices not participating in city Vision 3.0 process, many of whom suffer Food Insecurity, deserve access to safe, nutritious and culturally acceptable food as a basic human right essential to both human health and ecological sustainability.
  • Social Connections- Food is a natural way to gather people, from cultivation to dining.
  • Housing- Affordability and Character- Many who suffer Food Insecurity must make a choice to pay for housing, medical needs or food. Shelter in Minnesota is essential. Food and medicine are essential but often must be forgone in order to have shelter.
  • Transit and Mobility- Access to healthful, safe food is easy for those who have the choice and/or ability to drive or bike. Access to healthful, safe food is challenging for those who do not have this choice or ability.
  • Care and Enjoyment of the Natural Environment- When hunger disrupts one's day (at any age), care and enjoyment of the natural environment are above the means of those who suffer food insecurity. Learning environmental education through the path of growing food skills from "soil to table" supplies healthful, safe and fresh food and the skills to utilize it. Studies show environmental education helps to close the achievement gap in schools.

SLP Vision 3.0 Chosen Trends:

  • Declining Federal Gov't Effectiveness- Assistance programs have been and may be even more severely challenged in the current administration. One in four of those qualified for assistance do not take it, often due to fear of government interference in their private lives.  Potential major cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will greatly affect our most vulnerable children, families and seniors.
  • Elder Expense- A climbing number of elders are in need of assistance due to lack of good nutrition, causing disease seen in Emergency Response calls, especially at the end of the month when money runs out for food.
  • Climate Change- Agriculture is the number one cause of Climate Change and the most difficult to assess and remediate. Urban agriculture provides strategies to cool the planet while feeding the world. Starting in our backyard and public green spaces, both can be addressed. Our focus is climate change and how food is a cause, victim and solution.
  • The Changing Middle Class- While automation technology changes the landscape of middle class jobs, providing green job training in purposeful work supports our changing middle class. The "Green Jobs Industry" will grow exponentially in the coming decade, whether growing local food, implementing alternative energies or working to remediate and clean our land and water. Purposeful work, nutritious food and making the world a better place will help reduce the 1.6 billion dollars and work hours lost due to food-related chronic health challenges facing our society.

SLP Vision 3.0 Recommendations:

  • Develop Creative Housing Solutions- Affordable housing must include the ability to eat healthfully. New housing should include communal garden space for residents.
  • Develop Future-Focused Transit and Mobility Solutions- Access to healthful food options should be at least as important as access to green space.
  • Continue to Lead in Environmental Stewardship and Ensure Access to Green Space for Future Generations-Changes we must make in our policy, in our practices of food waste, meat consumption, etc. will guide our language throughout the decade.
  • Prepare our Next Generation-Green jobs industry will grow exponentially in the coming decade, whether growing local food, implementing alternative energies or working to remediate and clean our land and water. We need to prepare our youth for this work. Many youth are opting out of college and its expenses to go directly into work that supports their beliefs. Youth today say it's time to make changes that cool the planet and feed the world. It doesn't matter who started it, they want to implement solutions to end climate change and hunger. Strengthening the future of food relies heavily on the next generation!
  • Commit to Being a Leader in Racial Equity and Inclusion- Food insecurity is highest amongst non-white children and families. Supporting those families to have garden plot, learn skills from soil to table and back again, and raising the quality of their health by including them in surveys, offering free classes and opportunities to improve their access to healthful, safe fresh food will lead SLP into a leadership role for other cities to emulate.

Whereas the City of St Louis Park is currently nearing completion of the process of its Comprehensive Plan, which is updated every ten years, and the Met Council is advising that Health Equity and Resiliency are added to cities' Comprehensive Plans, and

Whereas the #2 NATIONAL Trend of City Comprehensive Planning under Resources is Food Security, and

Whereas community input from at least four Vision 3.0 gatherings conducted as trained by the Vision 3.0 consultant regarding food security is missing from the Vision 3.0 report, and

Whereas Councilman Brausen has advised SLP SEEDS that the preliminary City’s Comprehensive Plan due to be finished in its writing thereof by April-2018 does not include Food Insecurity in its Health section,

Whereas at the SLP DFL Caucus this month, both a MN Food Resolution, and a Resolution to 46A representatives to advise City of SLP to add the topic of Food Insecurity in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan were passed in various precincts, and,

Whereas verbiage in the SLP Vision 3.0 doesn't include food, but each value, trend and recommendation can be applied to Food Security (see above for Values, Trends and Recommendations in regard to food security), and

  • One in ten Minnesotans experience food insecurity. [1] 
  • 13.8% of children in Minnesota are food insecure. [2] 
  • About 10% of Minnesotans (12.7% of children) were in poverty in 2016. [3] 

Whereas a study from Park Nicollet on their clients who chose to take the survey found Food Insecurity for the segment answering from SLP is one in four. [4]

  • Park Nicollet acknowledges there are others who chose not to participate. 
  • Park Nicollet's Food Security Team believes the number is higher than 1:4. 

Whereas a study from [5] on the percentage of childhood food insecurity in MN is 13.8%.

  • states of those who are eligible for SNAP benefits in Minnesota, 12% that are eligible do not receive or take benefits.
  • This means 5 out of 6 kids who rely on free or reduced-price school meals aren’t getting free meals in the summer.
  • There are 185 days where Out of School Food Service is either not available or has low accessibility for children who are Food Insecure.
  • Only 16.4% of those on free or reduced lunches during the school year participate in Summer Food Service (mainly due to inability to arrive at locations serving food.) 
  • Hopkins has a Food Truck that brings food to the affordable housing complexes to reach a higher number of children's food needs not being met out of school. 

Whereas over 3,000,000 visits were made to Minnesota food shelves each year, 2011-2016, and visits in 2017 were on pace to likely meet or exceed this number.[6]

Whereas STEP Emergency Food Shelf Survey Facts (146 respondents of approximately 3400 served) [7]:

  • AFTER coming to STEP, 14% said they [still] occasionally go hungry, and another 9% said they [still] sometimes go hungry once or twice a month. Of STEP’s clientele, STEP is the only source of food for 8% of their clients 61% of total survey respondents indicated they have specific health related dietary need. STEP gave St. Louis Park residents approximately 600,000 lbs of food to those in need in 2017. 
  • Over 340,000 Minnesotans already face income, distance and transportation barriers to healthy, affordable foods.[8] 
  • MN # of households: 2,194,000 (low security) 9.7% (very low security) 3.6 % [9]
  • SLP School District has several large sectors with over 50% of the children eligible to receive free meals [10] 
  • The number of food insecure seniors and seniors utilizing food shelfs continues to increase. [11] 
  • A lack of access to affordable, healthy foods is a contributing factor to the fact that Minnesota has some of the worst health disparities in the country.[12]
  • Minnesota’s charitable food system (food shelves and food banks, meal programs, etc.) is running at capacity. Supporting government programs like SNAP (“food stamps”) and creating a more just and equitable food system are integral parts of meeting the need of food insecure households and working toward ending hunger. 

Whereas URBAN ARGRICULTURE helps cool the planet and feed the world, directly affecting Climate Change

  • Urban Agriculture also raises health, economics, community engagement and connection to nature. There are huge obstacles facing new [urban] farmers including access to capital and land. [13]

We ask the City Council and Mayor to include Food Security Policy in the upcoming 10-year Comprehensive Plan.

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" ~Audrey Hepburn

“By providing a model for healthy food access, affordability & education, economic prosperity and community development will THRIVE!” ~Nancy Jacobs - President/Co-Founder Sundance Family Foundation

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