BAKERSFIELD, Calif - A large effort is underway to put an end to hunger in Kern County.
Community Action Partnership of Kern through funding from the United Way of Kern County and the California Endowment is spearheading the development of a local Food Policy Council and subsequently, a 10-year plan to end chronic hunger and food insecurity in Bakersfield and Kern County.
"The overall goal of the council is to develop a 10-year plan to end hunger and food insecurity in Kern County," said Tomeka Powell of the Community Action Partnership.
Organizers said the local hunger issue is ironic because Kern County is one of the major bread baskets of food distribution in the United States, but we are also the hungriest.
"Bakersfield, the metropolitan area is the number one hungriest cities in the nation,” said Powell.
Organizers said they have realistic goals about taking on the hunger issue, but they also understand the immensity of the problem.
"To say you are going to get a handle on hunger in 10-years is a pretty audacious goal," said Jill Egland with the United Way of Kern County.
Food Policy Council recruitment will include individuals from the private, public, non-profit, and government sectors, as well as farmers, farmer’s market managers, restaurant owners/chefs, grocery store managers, transportation representatives, food wholesalers, producers, processors, managers of food chains, and food retailers.
"It's bringing together these people who will be at the core. But really, they will be facilitating a much border conversation in the community," said Egland.
Between Monday, February 4th and Friday, February 15th, 2013, the United Way, California Endowment, and CAPK jointly will be recruiting members to serve on the inaugural Kern Food Policy Council. The 21-member Steering Committee will include participation from all sectors of the food system.
The Kern Food Policy Council provides a forum for individuals from many sectors of the community food system that have come together around common interests and beliefs about a healthy sustainable food system for Kern County.
The goal is to create a food policy council to reduce health disparities and ensure food access for low-income communities throughout Kern County.
All applications should be mailed or returned to CAPK at 300 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or faxed to (661) 336-5257. You can also access the application at www.capk.org or uwkern.org.