On 10/30/15, MPHA staff were in Amherst, MA, for Food for Good—a new action-oriented conference presented by Community Action! of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions. This conference was inspired by US Congressman Jim McGovern’s “tireless advocacy on behalf of lower-income American’s who struggle to meet their families’ basic nutrition needs every day” and attracted more than 200 people from across the state.
MPHA’s Director of Policy & Campaign Strategy, Maddie Ribble, MPH, was part of the morning plenary session about current statewide initiatives to address hunger and healthy food access. His talk focused on the Massachusetts Food Trust, one of MPHA’s top priorities to fund and implement. Passed into law in 2014, the MA Food Trust can be a flexible financing tool that provides grants and low-interest loans to expand access to healthy, affordable foods in underserved communities while also creating new jobs. Mr. Ribble described how other states, including New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have leveraged public seed-funding to attract nine to 15 times more investment.
MPHA’s Field Director, Andrea Freeman, was part of a panel titled, Strategies to Overcome Transportation Barriers to Food Access. She described how complete streets are one tool in the tool box for some communities to make it easier for people without cars to walk, bike, and/or take public transit to grocery stores, food pantries, and farmers markets. Implementing the Complete Streets Funding Program is another top priority of MPHA’s; look for an exciting announcement in coming days!
For more information on this conference:
– See Twitter postings with #Food4Good
– Contact Andrea Freeman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 857-263-7072 x103
Read “Food for Good conference at UMass addresses issue of hunger in Massachusetts” by Daily Hampshire Gazette