Executive order in Anne Arundel establishes permanent, multi-dimensional strategy for opening access to food for residents in need.
According to a press release, Anne Arundel County Executive, Steuart Pittman, signed an executive order establishing the Anne Arundel County Food Council. This effort formalizes an established food access workgroup to coordinate efforts among multiple agencies and nonprofits working to reduce food insecurity at the start of the pandemic. The new order provides a permanent, coordinated, multi-disciplinary effort to address food access issues and the associated health issues in the county.
The food distribution system we created during the pandemic kept many families from going hungry, but the need today is even greater,” said County Executive Pittman.
While American Rescue Plan Act money and other emergency funds were used to establish some of the new programs, the Council will be tasked with making sure the potential gaps are filled as federal funding is diminished. A focus on supporting the local food economy and food infrastructure of low access areas will be paramount. Advising the County Executive and County agencies on methods to improve equitable access to healthy and culturally-appropriate food is a major priority of the initiative. Special attention will be paid to neighborhoods experiencing the most poverty and food insecurity, many of which are disproportionately African American and Hispanic/Latino.
This announcement is in line with other efforts by Anne Arundel to combat food insecurity with the roll back of federal funding that kicked in during the COVID response. As previously reported on the Conduit Street Blog, the County Executives FY24 budget proposal included a new position at the Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families to coordinate food programs while also allocating an additional $1M for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank at Crownsville.