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RI Department of Environmental Management
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"OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION" SUMMARY OF THE RHODE ISLAND FOOD ASSESSMENT TO BE RELEASED AT STATE HOUSE EVENT CELEBRATING NATIONAL FOOD DAY NEXT MONDAYPROVIDENCE - Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit will join First Lady Stephanie Chafee; Department of Health Director Michael Fine, MD; Senator Susan Sosnowski; Henry Herrera, MD, general manager for Dig Deep Farms & Produce, a project of the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs Activities League; and others to launch the RI Food Policy Council and release a summary of the RI Food Assessment on Food Day — Monday, October 24.
The 10 a.m. State House event is planned to focus attention on the importance of ensuring a healthy, affordable, sustainable, and locally-grown food supply. Promoting healthy diets and increasing access to fresh, safe, and affordable food is critical to improving residents' overall health, and benefits low-income populations in particular.
"The State of Rhode Island possesses a rich local food culture that supports and promotes the health and well-being of Rhode Island communities and the local economy," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Strengthening our food system and increasing access to healthy and affordable food will take creativity, dedication, and collaboration among all Rhode Islanders. I look forward to working with the RI Food Policy Council and other stakeholders to advocate for improvements to our local food system that ensure its sustainability."
"Available, affordable, and locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables help Rhode Islanders stay healthy," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. "A healthier diet combined with more physical activity, will help Rhode Islanders reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer."
Senator Susan Sosnowski, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture said, "As we continue to address the health and food needs for all the citizens of Rhode Island, it is essential that we foster locally produced, sustainable food sources that promote economic vitality and protect farmers for generations to come."
"Opportunities for Action," a summary of the soon-to-be completed RI Food Assessment which is a comprehensive report on the current state of the food system in Rhode Island, will be released at the event. The Food Assessment lays the groundwork for the RI Food Policy Council, which will work to create partnerships, develop policies, and advocate for improvements to the local food system that increase and expand its capacity, viability, and sustainability. Some highlights of the full report that will be released in December are as follows:
The launch of the 15-member RI Food Policy Council is the culmination of a year-long planning process made possible by funding from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation. The goal of the RI Food Policy Council is to increase and strengthen the capacity and sustainability of our local food system so that everyone, especially low-income populations in the state, can have access to locally-raised healthy, safe, affordable, and culturally-acceptable food.
Members of the RI Food Policy Council include representatives from DEM (Ken Ayars), RI Department of Health (Michael Fine, MD and Randi Belhumeur), RI Department of Administration (Kelly Mahoney), Southside Community Land Trust (Katherine Brown), Grow Smart RI (Sheila Brush), Farm Fresh RI (Noah Fulmer), Brown University Institute for Community Health Promotion (Gemma Gorham), URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America (Kathleen Gorman), African Alliance of RI (Julius Kolawole), RI School of Design Enrique Martinez), RI Resource Recovery Corporation (Krystal Noiseaux), URI Nutrition and Food Sciences Department (Lori Pivarnik), Environmental Justice League of RI (Amelia Rose), and the RI Community Food Bank (Andrew Schiff).
National Food Day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. More than 1,500 events are planned from coast to coast in homes, schools, universities, parks, and in Times Square. For information on additional Food Day events scheduled in Rhode Island, visit http://foodday.org and search for events by zip code.