Food Access & Equity

Co-Chairs:

  • Beverly Wheeler, DC Hunger Solutions
  • Andre Towner, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington
  • Winnie Huston, DC Greens
  • Bridgette Acklin, DC Department of Human Services

2020 Priorities:

  1. Create a DC Good Food Investment Fund to invest in locally-owned food businesses serving District neighborhoods with low access to healthy food. As a public/private partnership, this Fund would provide catalytic grants, flexible loans, and technical assistance to address the District’s persistent grocery gap, preserve and support small businesses owned by District residents, and create high-quality jobs.
  2. Promote programs that explore how nutritious food can improve health. The District is at the forefront of piloting innovative programs that provide nutritious food to help prevent and treat diet-related disease. Strengthening connections with the healthcare industry, continuing to collect data to analyze program effectiveness, and increasing awareness among District stakeholders will be key to demonstrating the connection between food and health.
  3. Celebrate and increase awareness of new grocery options in DC. In 2019, several new grocery businesses opened or announced plans to open in low food access areas in the District, including: Lidl in Ward 7, Market 7 in Ward 7, and Good Food Markets in Ward 8 (all set to open in 2020), and Fresh Food Factory in Ward 8 (opened in 2019). Celebrating these businesses and encouraging residents to visit the new stores will sustain these businesses and encourage future investment.
Newgroceries

Accomplishments:

Advocacy for new, locally-owned grocery stores in Wards 7 and 8: Four new healthy food retail options are developing in Wards 7 and 8, the Wards most underserved by fresh food options. Three of these businesses are locally owned. Check out our 2-page map and description of these businesses.

Emergency Food Response: The FPC has played a critical role in supporting District residents facing food insecurity during several emergencies, including the COVID-19 public health emergency and the 2019 federal government shutdown.

Advocacy Guides: The FPC created advocacy guides for District residents to testify on two bills that would expand access to federal nutrition programs: the WIC Expansion Act of 2018 (passed), which would expand access to WIC in smaller stores, and Healthy Parks Act of 2018 (passed in July 2018), which expands the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program to all eligible Department of Parks and Recreation facilities.

Community meal, Spring 2019

Community Meals: The FPC has co-hosted three community meals in Wards 7 and 8 focused on discussion and engagement with residents most affected by food policies in the District. These meals focused on food access, urban agriculture, and food entrepreneurs.

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Award: In October 2019, the District was internationally recognized by the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact for its approach for food as medicine programs. The District received the Highest Score Award for its Produce Plus and Produce Prescription programs. Read more about that award here.

DC Food as Medicine Programs

“Food as Medicine” includes policies and programs integrating healthy food access as a core component of health care. The DC Food Policy Council has identified promoting food as medicine programs in the District as a top priority in 2019. In collaboration with DC Health, the FPC created two resources highlighting the District’s food as medicine programs and potential ways to enhance and expand these programs.