PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY FOOD SECURITY TASK FORCE HIGHLIGHTS 11 NEW RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 26, 2022

For More Information Contact:
FEC: Julia Groenfeldt, [email protected]
IPHI: Sydney Daigle, [email protected]

(PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md.)
 — The silence of hunger has been heard loud and clear thanks to the Prince George’s County Food Security Task Force, the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), and IPHI’s Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC). The group completed a report to address the county’s food-security challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report recommends 11 solutions (four foundational and seven general strategies) for the Prince George’s County Council, Office of the County Executive, and County agencies to adopt.

The report highlights timely policy recommendations and strategies to improve food security, increase food system resiliency, and ensure county agency and community officials are prepared to respond to food-security challenges in future public health, environmental, or economic emergencies. “The Food Security Task Force final report and recommendations set the table for addressing food insecurity in the county and its impact on our quality of life. It presents a strong foundation and best practices guide for the county, especially as we continue to address the additional impacts of ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Task Force Chair, Council Member Todd M. Turner (4th Council District).

The following recommendations are outlined in the report:

Foundational Recommendations

a. Create and fund a Prince George’s County Food Security Office.
b. Gather, analyze, and use data to inform and drive County agency food security decisions.
c. Increase resident participation in federal nutrition assistance programs.
d. Develop a master communication strategy for food security, resilience, and emergency preparedness.

 

Food Security Policies and Programs Recommendations

1. Plan for future food security disruptions by developing an emergency food security plan that integrates food system experts into existing emergency management operations.
2. Increase access to bulk food purchasing, infrastructure, and resources for food assistance providers.
3. Co-locate food security and social safety net services to create closed-loop referral systems.
4. Improve transportation options for residents to access healthy food retailers and providers.
5. Leverage state and regional partners for cross-jurisdictional food systems planning, coordinated communication, and infrastructure development.
6. Provide land access, infrastructure, and resources to help agriculture flourish.
7. Continue to provide and expand market incentives to support healthy food retailers of multiple sizes in target communities.

 

The Task Force advised the Prince George’s County Council and County Executive to implement these recommendations to address the ongoing food security crisis.

IPHI Senior Program Manager Sydney Daigle said, “The recommendations provided in this report are informed by experts and advocates who have been working tirelessly to address food security during the pandemic and for years before it. Taken collectively, these strategies present an opportunity to advance healthy food access and food security for residents now and for years to come.”

The Prince George’s County Council established the Prince George’s County Food Security Task Force in 2020 and it was extended in 2021. The Task Force is comprised of 21 members from specific county agencies and non-profit food system stakeholders. The Task Force leveraged the Food System Study initiated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) and FEC to serve as a guide to combat food insecurity, which can stem from several interrelated causes.

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About the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council:
The Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) is a local food policy council that works to help residents grow, sell, and choose healthy foods. Since 2013, FEC has been a voice for county residents at the policymaking table. The FEC focuses on systematic and sustainable changes to promote health, economic opportunity, food security, and well-being in Prince George’s by advocating for policy that creates a more equitable local food system. The FEC is housed within the Institute for Public Health Innovation. For more information on FEC, visit www.pgcfec.org and follow FEC on social media @pgcfec.

About the Institute for Public Health Innovation:
IPHI develops multi-sector partnerships and innovative solutions to improve the public’s health and well-being across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. IPHI strengthens health systems, policies, enhances conditions that promote health, and builds community capacity to ensure equitable opportunities for all. IPHI is one of over 40 public health institutes across the country and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes. For more information about IPHI, visit: www.institutephi.org, and follow IPHI on Facebook and Twitter @InstitutePHI.