Local initiative receives federal award

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A federal agency has recognized a local initiative that aims to improve access and reduce disparities within the healthy food system.

The Environmental Protection Agency gave the city of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Food Justice Network an award for food system technical assistance called Local Food, Local Places.

Charlottesville passed the Food Equity Initiative in October 2018 in order to invest in multiple strategies to improve equitable access within the local food system.

According to a release, the EPA award will enable the community to create solutions to advance equity in the food economy.

It comes with financial support from federal and state partners in the form of a grant, allowing the original partnership to look forward to creating affordable food markets in the city's strategic investment areas while also supporting resident-led urban agriculture as an asset for the environment, society and economy.

“The Charlottesville Food Equity Initiative lays the foundation for a healthy and just community food system for all Charlottesville residents by addressing barriers to food equity and improving access to and quality of nutritious and affordable foods,” said Councilor Kathleen Galvin. “As a Charlottesville city councilor (and on behalf of my colleagues), I'm proud to say that our city has joined the ranks of many other local food equity leaders, to support our community members in ending this pernicious, structural inequity embedded in our food production and delivery system.”

The release says other ideas for the award also include support for small family farms, grocery stores in public and subsidized housing site, and better school breakfast and lunch programs.

Members of the community, especially minority entrepreneurs, urban or rural farmers, school administrators, nonprofit leaders, foundations, and low-income residents, are invited to take part in upcoming workshops.

The workshops will take place July 16 and 17 at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

For more information, call Jeanette Abi-Nader at (434) 260-3274 or click on the link in the Related Links box.

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