photo by Andrew Bowen
A consortium of more than 100 organizations in San Diego is working on a plan – a kind of paradigm shift – a new vision of how to make sustainable food sources more available to all San Diegans. The group wants feedback on plans before Thanksgiving.
Sona Desai, Associate Director of The San Diego Food Systems Alliance, said the number of San Diegans residents who are experiencing difficulty getting healthy food has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, the county estimated one in seven San Diegans was food insecure. That translates to nearly half a million people. Desai said current estimates suggest about one million people, or one in three San Diegans, experience food insecurity this year.
Food Banks are part of the solution, Desai said, but what’s also important is developing more local sources of healthy food, encouraging local farmers and fisheries to continue producing fresh food. He said shopping at farmers markets and buying take-out food from local restaurants were the main ways to help the local food economy, which employs hundreds of thousands of San Diegans. An estimated 50,000 food industry jobs have been lost during the pandemic, he said.
San Diegans can also make the most of the food supply avoiding waste of food. Desai said pre-pandemic estimates suggested the San Diegans wasted 500,000 pounds of food a year. The new policy encourages less waste, food diversion or composting from entering the landfill.
The San Diego Food Alliance has gathered input from the community and is now conducting an online survey, with dozens of ideas on how to promote a more sustainable food system in San Diego. The final step before creating a report is to gather input on which ideas should be the top priority in future efforts to make healthy food more available to all San Diegans.
Once input has been prioritized, the Alliance plans to begin mobilizing to realize this vision.
Inputs are invited on This link.
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