Earlier this week, nearly 100 West Virginians, including farmers, educators, advocates and food pantry representatives, gathered in Buckhannon to address solutions to hunger in the Mountain State. The Food for All Summit was hosted by the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and other partners to focus on increasing food security and equitable access for all in our state.
We began the day by discussing the real challenges we face in West Virginia. Nearly 20 percent of our residents are living in poverty, though many of them are working. One-third of West Virginians live in a food desert, and 70 percent live more than 10 minutes from a grocery store. Our food banks serve over 300,000 West Virginians every single month to alleviate hunger.
Hunger is found across all age ranges and walks of life, so the policies proposed would improve food access for schoolchildren, former felons and seniors alike. And, since solving food access issues requires security at every stage of the food supply chain, solutions ranged from policies that would help farmers to those that would directly help to put food on the tables of the hungry in our state.
We came away from the day with five bold, proactive policies to address hunger along with the tools and the teams that will be needed to turn these proposals into reality.
Teams are working on each of the five policy proposals and to ensure that increasing food security will be a priority in the upcoming legislative session. Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times to remind your state lawmakers that everyone deserves access to adequate and quality food. To get involved with one of the policy teams, contact Kelly Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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