“I think that the surge in demand for food delivery and roadside pick-up options during COVID-19 will encourage forward talks at the federal level about easing restrictions on food delivery,” Reistad said. “I also think it will catalyze philanthropy and other soft money to explore the problem of offering alternative food access strategies beyond just building brick and mortar stores.”
The city can improve local food cultivation by identifying city-owned land that has the potential for agriculture, creating networks / programs supporting backyard gardens, supporting the expansion of pantry gardens, developing and supporting agricultural partnerships, and facilitating harvests for donations, he said.
The city already has many tools, he said. It has historically invested nearly $ 300,000 every year in community food system through various initiatives including the Healthy Retail Access Program, Luna Foods, Madison Oriental Market, FEED Kitchen, River Food Pantry, Madison Terminal Market Project and SEED Grants.
“Going forward, I think the city has the capacity to be flexible in how we use part of this fund to support food aid and recovery efforts,” Reistad said. “In addition, the city has a lot of land and facilities and, based on current and emerging needs from time to time, I think policy makers and staff can be innovative in redirecting the city’s underutilized resources.”