A series of community meetings
throughout Denver will explore the issues of food insecurity and healthy food access.
Hosted by the Denver Office of Economic Development, the meetings are designed as a platform for community residents to propose solutions they think would be best in each neighborhood. The intent is to develop the first countywide Denver Food Plan.
"There is a great need in many of our neighborhoods for healthy food access," says Mayor Michael Hancock. "Through a strategic Food Plan approach, we can capitalize on new opportunities around local and healthy foods and create the right environment for the city to make a major difference in our neighborhoods and in the lives of many residents."
The Denver Food Plan is likely to encompass strategies for improving healthy food access, as well as targeting business development and job creation related to the city's food system.
Improving the food environment in Denver's most challenged neighborhoods will likely require multiple strategies, including shifting household shopping, cooking, and eating behaviors to include more fresh and healthy foods; reducing the distance required to travel to access fresh and healthy foods by improving small "corner" stores and farmers markets; and launching micro-enterprises or other new food-related businesses that increase household incomes and provide jobs.
"Taking a host of socioeconomic, mobility and cultural issues into account, the issue of healthy food and food access is anything but simple," says Paul Washington, executive director of the Office of Economic Development. "So many people assume it's just a matter of opening a supermarket, and while that is desirable, other integrated solutions are necessary as well."
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