On Tuesday, March 31, MPHA hosted Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities at the State House to provide legislators and community leaders the opportunity to learn from successful out-of-state healthy food financing models that have not only increased access to healthy foods, but also have improved economies through the creation of jobs. These success stories speak to how Massachusetts would benefit from successful implementation of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program that was established by the legislature in 2014.
The importance of this topic was highlighted by the large attendance, including many legislators on one of the busiest days at the State House, Agriculture Day. Featured speakers included Dwayne Bourdeaux, Owner of Circle Foods Store in New Orleans, and Mariam Manon, Senior Associate at the Food Trust. Both are leaders in fostering access to healthy foods in under-served communities. Representative Dan Donahue and Senator Michael Moore also addressed the packed House Members Lounge to emphasize the importance of healthy food financing and highlighted that establishing the MA Food Trust Program is not enough, we must now advocate for funding. Shared anecdotes also drew attention to the lack of healthy food access across Massachusetts. The excitement in the room to work together on this issue has energized us to ignite our work to bolster healthy food access in Massachusetts.
Thank you to the many attendees, including legislators and their staff, who took the time to attend and learn more about this important issue. Thank you to our event sponsors: Senator Michael Moore, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Representative Dan Donahue, Representative Dan Hunt, Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporation, The Boston Foundation, Act FRESH Campaign, American Heart Association, and the Massachusetts Food Association.