Healthy Food For All: A Community Food Security Plan

Hi, my name is Nancy Williams. I serve as
the president and CEO for No More Empty Pots. My name is Mariel Harding and I am the director of health and food security at
the United Way of the Midlands. My name is Craig Howell, I direct the
Alliance for a Better Omaha. I’m Kerry Kernan, division chief with community
health nutrition services with Douglas County Health Department. [Mariel] So in 2016 we
initiated a food mapping project to look at the needs and assets related to
hunger in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties. So that wrapped up in 2017 and
allowed us to secure funding from the USDA to create a comprehensive community
food security plan. We were in no ways the creator of this plan, but rather
partners to the community to help just facilitate a process that allowed for
the creation of the plan. [Craig] Really that’s what it’s, it’s about. We get a bunch of
different people from the community in different sectors and we all have that
equal voice and we trust each other’s voice and listen to it and then we
collectively grow. [Nancy] We worked with several different stakeholders throughout the
community to assess what was needed, what was being done right now, and how we
could help make our greater Omaha community more food secure. [Kerry] And I think
what this plan and this process has really brought together is all the
partners that are working in the varied food spaces and how can we really work
collaboratively and really think about increase in our impact as we think about
addressing food security. [Mariel] Often food plans are focused either in emergency
food or in food systems like local foods, but this – this spans all of those and I
think that’s really unique. [Nancy] It is a comprehensive, monumental effort. If food security
was an easy thing to fix it would have been done already, but this is not about
fixing things, it’s about coming together and working collectively as a community
to develop what we see that we need as a community. [Kerry] So how do we change the
conversation around what food security looks like, what food insecurity is, and
what does it mean to be a food security community? That’s what I got really
excited about when we got toward the end is that I feel really proud of what
we’ve come together to put on paper, and I can tell you at the very end of the
journey everybody around the partnership said, ‘Regardless of whether there will be
continued funding from USDA or others, we’re committed to putting this plan to
action.’ [Craig] The only way this happens is by it being initiated by an organization
that can get us all at the table and that’s United Way of the Midlands. So I
think it’s kind of the but-for test, but for United Way, we’re not here.

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