City-County Council committee holding town hall to discuss food insecurity

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INDIANAPOLIS — The City-County Council’s Community Affairs Committee is considering a proposal to create a commission to help families without regular access to food. 

The committee will host a virtual town hall event at 6 after the committee meeting scheduled for 5:30 Wednesday night. 

Food insecurity is a problem for some areas of Indianapolis and Marion County, so this commission would aim to alleviate that. 

District 14 Councilor La Keisha Jackson is the chair in charge of the Community Affairs Committee. She says they’ve done studies and gathered data, but what is really going to help solve this problem is hearing from the people impacted. 

“We want to hear from the everyday person. We want to hear from the citizens. That grandmother who’s raising her grand kids. We want to hear from the mother who needs accessible fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, that’s providing meals for her family. We want to hear what they need and want,” said Jackson. 

The Community Food Access Advisory Commission would evaluate and help with food policy initiatives and give advice to the City-County Council on matters related to food equity and food access.

But Jackson says that’s not something they can do on their own. 

“We want to hear what they need and want. And what diversity of food streams and accessibility to food looks like to them, not what we think it should look like. And so, as this food commission council is formed, what should they be responsible for in closing those gaps in our community and in our city? Hearing from the everyday person and everyday citizen, what they want and need and not us telling them.” 

Jackson says they had a study done of the gaps in social services for this area, and food insecurity came out on top. 

Jackson says they don’t want to hear complaints, only solutions. They understand they have a food insecurity problem, but the town hall is about addressing the concerns and finding ways to fix them. 

In the town hall, they are looking to hear from stakeholders including residents, business owners, farmers, gardeners, and people who run pop-up markets just to name a few. 

Jackson says it’s important to form the community food access advisory commission and take these ideas and run with them. 

“That body will be responsible for pulling all these things together and addressing and closing the gaps in where we are. And implementing some of these tools and these ideas that come out of this.”  

She says there is a food council, but the plan after the town hall is to beef it up, turn it into a commission and give them more authority to make change towards ending food insecurity. 

The town hall will be online scheduled for 6 p.m., after the community affairs committee meeting. Click here to take part in the virtual event.

The committee meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. and discuss items including a community plan to end homelessness and its Covid-19 response and housing needs. 

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