The Food Security Task Force aims to resolve current food accessibility barriers.
A bill filed with the Utah Legislature would establish a task force to tackle Utah’s food insecurity and ensure minority families have access to healthy food.
The move won approval in the first Senate floor vote Friday a day after leaving the committee.
“As of February 2020, food insecurity in Utah is around 8.2%, which means one in 12 households in our state say they have a food security problem. By December 2020, it will be one in five households, ”said Escamilla during the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee.
Martindale said food insecurity leads to desperate tactics such as parents leaving food to feed their children, teenagers not eating to feed their younger siblings and neglecting health and medical problems.
“We answer phone calls from families, seniors, people with disabilities, who are struggling to find ways to buy food for their families or how they will go to the soup kitchen,” said Cornia. “Hunger and food safety is not about not having enough food, it’s about access.”
These barriers include complex online systems, lack of transportation, language barriers for immigrants and refugees and a lack of access to culturally appropriate food among other barriers, Cornia said.
“SB141 gives us the opportunity to break down these barriers and address the fundamental policy problem that prevents people from having enough to eat,” he added.
The Food Security Task Force will consist of specialized state agencies and entities to produce policies for state and local governments.
“The state will not solve everything, but it can certainly help,” said Escamilla.