Our goal within this priority area is that everyone in North Carolina has access to healthy food.
Too many people in our state don’t have access to the food they need. To ensure everyone has access to healthy food, we need a more equitable food system that – from farm to table and from processing to disposal − ensures economic opportunity for all; high quality jobs with living wages; safe working conditions; access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food; environmental sustainability; and the ability to respond to unforeseen challenges, such as those brought about by COVID-19.
In every component of our food system, Black, Latino, American Indian, and other people of color face long-standing structural and institutional racism. A more resilient and equitable food system will reduce food insecurity, improve health, promote healthy child development, build stronger communities, and support economic development for all.
Strategic Approach and Current Focus
We are focused on developing a shared vision and a path toward a more equitable and resilient North Carolina food system that feeds more people and advances racial and economic equity. This requires changes in policies, practices, resource flows, relationships, and power dynamics, and will also require addressing the structures in the food system that create and reinforce inequities among people of color. While emergency food assistance is critical, especially during the COVID crisis, it is not a long-term solution to hunger and to the other the food system challenges facing our state.
Specifically, our objectives are to:
- Support the development of a broad coalition of organizations working toward equity in the state’s food system.
- Leverage public and private procurement opportunities to increase resources flowing to the local food system.
- Maximize the use of federal food and nutrition assistance programs that increase healthy food access, including the National School Lunch Program.
The mass disruption of the COVID-19 crisis and the reckoning with structural racism has led to increased awareness and attention to the inequities in our food system. With this comes the chance to rethink the best approaches to build a more equitable and resilient local food system.
As such, we are currently supporting efforts to:
- Mobilize a broad network of stakeholders to improve healthy food access through the development of a shared policy agenda and advocacy led by North Carolina Alliance for Health
- Expand and strengthen local food councils throughout the state to lead policy and system change for a more equitable food system at all levels in partnership with Community Food Strategies
- Bolster the infrastructure of the local food supply chain by building the capacity of, and collaboration between, food hubs
- Ensure that school nutrition programs have the resources they need to offer nutritious and delicious food, with a focus on farm to school expansion with the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina
- Develop a food system resilience plan to inform public and private investment of opportunities to strengthen the food system and address disparities in health, wealth, and opportunity that disproportionally affect Black, Latino, American Indian, and People of Color, as well as communities
- Broaden racial equity training and coaching for institutions in the food system
Director, Healthy Food
Food Policy Roadmap to Nourish All of North Carolina
Foundation Comments on Federal Regulations in Support of Healthy Food Access in North Carolina
November 1, 2019 – Blue Cross NC Foundation formally responded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule to end the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility.