Baltimore and Lyft Partner to Bridge Urban Food Deserts

Many residents in Baltimore low-income areas suffer from inadequate access to healthy food options, but a new partnership between the city and rideshare company Lyft could soon change that dynamic. The city has formed a partnership with the ride-hailing company and community groups to launch a pilot project in Baltimore in two parts of the city known for having poor access to quality grocery stores — areas known as “food deserts.” The six-month pilots in South and West Baltimore will provide eight rides a month to area grocery stores for 200 qualifying residents until April 30, 2020. The rides can be accessed via the Lyft app and will cost a flat rate of $2.50 each. The goal is “to put the money back in the pocket of residents to go buy healthy food,” said Holly Freishtat, food policy director in Baltimore, which heads up the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Government Technology

Urban Food, Energy, and Water: Connecting the Dots

If the food system needs water and energy, then food policy should pay attention to these resources. Research into the interconnections, and possible trade-offs, between the three basic resources for human activities has boomed over the last few years. Because resources are flowing from the hinterland to the city, the authors insist that any resource planning should look beyond the city borders. In other words, urban infrastructure planning is no longer about planning for the city only. They highlight that “the impacts of cities outside of their immediate geographies and their relationship with Food-Energy-Water resources must be considered in the planning and policy.” Here, a key point is to pay attention to infrastructure, and, more specifically, to adopt an integrated approach to infrastructure planning. The more integrated the planning, the better. The authors quote Integrated Water Resources Management as a good example of a holistic approach to resource planning. So, to ensure their future food supply, cities should take a double step back, and understand that their urban food strategy is not only about food, and it is not only about the city. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Urban Food Futures

Collective Impact in Practice: Cities Reducing Poverty

Collective Impact supports communities to address complex social issues and create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale. This tool illustrates how six Cities Reducing Poverty members across Canada are applying the five conditions of Collective Impact to their work in order to move the needle on poverty in their communities. The tool aims to be applicable to other organizations or partnerships who aim to tackle food poverty.

Using this tool will help you:
• Review the five conditions of Collective Impact,
• Understand how communities across Canada are applying these conditions to poverty reduction work, and
• Gain ideas on how you can apply Collective Impact to your own work.

Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Tamarack Institute

Evaluating the Economic Impact of Local Food Systems

If every dollar or pound spent within the local economy has the potential to increase localized spending and support smaller-scale enterprise, does this mean that local food systems show similar impacts? This local multiplier effect is what Becca Jablonski, Dawn Thilmany McFadden, and their team of Agricultural Economists from across the U.S. set out to investigate. With the backing of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, they developed the Local Food Systems Toolkit to evaluate the economic impact of local food systems policies, programming, and initiatives, with the hopes of making the evaluation of impacts more standardized and accessible to policymakers and funders. Follow this link to learn more.
Follow this link to access the toolkit.

Sourced from: Urban Food Futures

Professional Development Travel Scholarships Available to Attend the Urban Food Systems Symposium

Twenty-five travel grants of up to $500 each will be awarded to Urban Food Systems professionals including extension educators, state and federal agency workers, educators, and not-for-profit professionals serving the urban food system. This scholarship can be used towards lodging, registration, meals, airfare and mileage during the Urban Food Systems Symposium which is being held in Kansas City from June 3-6, 2020. Scholarship winners will also receive complimentary registration to the Pre-Symposium Workshop with Mark Winne.

Important Dates:
Application Open: October 15, 2019
Application Deadline: December 20, 2019
Recipients Announced: February 1, 2020


Current professionals working in Urban Food Systems or a related field
Successfully submitted statement of interest.
Criteria For Selecting Professional Travel Grant Awardees
The statement of interest should include: why you are interested in Urban Food Systems and how the symposium will help you develop your professional goals.

Follow this link to submit your statement of interest form.

Nutrition Considerations for Smart Aging: Webinar

Approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease that directly impacts their quality of life. This webinar will discuss how nutrition affects the quality of life in older adults, and what can lead to poor nutrition in later life. An Introduction to the Aging and Eating curriculum will be presented by Jenny Lobb and Kathy Tutt. The webinar will take place Friday, December 6, 2019. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The North Central Region Aging Network

Disrupting Food Insecurity

An estimated 40 million Americans—including 12.5 million children—struggle with food insecurity, meaning they can’t afford an adequate diet. Federal nutrition programs and charitable meals make up the first line of defense, but solving this challenge will require communities to go beyond food to disrupt the root causes of economic distress. This dashboard equips counties with data about their food insecurity levels and related risk factors, identifies cross-cutting opportunities for intervention, and groups counties by shared challenges. Dive into your county’s data and explore strategies tailored to your county. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Urban Institute

How Aztecs Could Improve Modern Urban Farming

Roland Ebel of the Sustainable Food Systems Program at Montana State University conducted a research project to determine the extent to which an ancient Aztec agricultural technique could benefit 21st century horticultural needs. Ebel examined the use of “chinampas” with the hope of discovering their modern utility. A chinampa is a raised field on a small artificial island on a freshwater lake (usually surrounded by canals and ditches), where vegetables can be produced year round. The irrigation needs of chinampas is low and the productivity extremely high. Chinampas provide fresh produce for a megacity such as Mexico City and are conceivable around many of today’s exploding urban areas. Ebel’s findings are illustrated in the article Chinampas: An Urban Farming Model of the Aztecs and a Potential Solution for Modern Megalopolis “Today, many cities face very similar challenges as Mexico City did 700 years ag – a rapidly growing population, and less and less arable land available for food production. Highly intensive production systems with low resource demand are, therefore, a strategic goal of urban agriculture developers. Thus, while most strategists emphasize high-tech solutions such as complex vertical farms, I think it is worthwhile to learn from the achievements of our ancestors,” states Ebel.  Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips