Local Nonprofit Wins Grant to Push for a Fair Food System in DC

Joni Ponshcun with kale growing in the rooftop garden at Bread for the City

by Tambra Stevenson

WASHINGTON, DC (March 11, 2012)—One more win for the food systems movement in DC when Bread for the City secured a grant from the Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. Over the last two-plus years “I’m excited to announce Bread for the City is seeking a Coordinator for a group of organizations and individuals working to create a food policy council in DC,” stated Joni Ponschun, Advocacy Coordinator for the nonprofit.

So far several area nonprofits such as Healthy Solutions, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, and  Common Good City Farm have participated in roundtable sessions to discuss the direction and goals of forming a food policy council and organizing a summit to engage area residents.

In an email to the DC Food for All listserv, Ponschun noted that the vision of the council is for a ‘nourishing community in which all Washington, DC residents can enjoy a nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate diet provided by a local, sustainable food system that fosters health, equity, interdependence, and self-reliance.’

“Moving forward in this new year, we will hold more community brainstorms, further strengthen our relationships, and establishing a web presence to connect with more people and increase transparency,” wrote Ponschun in the blog.

To gather community input, the nonprofit’s blog shares that have held eight sessions at ROC-DC, Rooting DCCapital Area Food Bank, Farmers Market Collaborative, ONE DC and the People’s Co-Op. In building support, Angie Stackhouse, the newest addition to the food systems issue has been added to reignite participation. Stackhouse, a former homeless resident, is passionate about communities securing food through creating gardens.

In 2005 under Mayor Anthony Williams, the Mayor’s Commission on Food and Nutrition was created to advise the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia on the policy, nature and extent of food and nutrition programs in the District of Columbia. The last published piece by the Commission was a report on food accessibility in the District of Columbia. Healthy Food, Healthy Communities: An Assessment and Scorecard of Community Food Security in the District of Columbia.

The food systems movement has grown quickly in other urban cities such as Oakland, Detroit, Kansas City, Tulsa, Portland, Seattle, and Brooklyn compared to Washington, DC. Perhaps with the recent grant new momentum will kick start the movement and open doors for new partnerships.

Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association of the University of the District of Columbia. You  can follow her on Twitter @tambra.

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One thought on “Local Nonprofit Wins Grant to Push for a Fair Food System in DC

  1. AY says:

    These organizations are lot of talk and of little action. SHIRE Inc offers focus groups during times that no real working citizen can attend. When we do attend, they satiate us with sandwiches and ask the same standard questions to secure funding.

    Try walking the streets of Anacostia, Benning Road or Deanwood and see if the average citizen knows anything about these so called non profits mentioned. It is easy to sit in a comfortable room with pens and papers contemplating the plight of the peasants. But the real work is in the streets. The average person in DC earning under $40k lives near a carry out, buys groceries to feed a large family and has little access to stress relieving exercise.

    The justice movement in DC is sad and defunct. Compared to movements on the west coast and even internationally, DC residents are hungry and hopeless with the current non-profit status quo.

    DC is among the wealthiest and most expensive places to live. We don’t need more money, we need more passion that matches logic and activism.

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