When I wrote to ABFPC’s Coordinator, Gina Smith, saying I didn’t feel sufficiently well-informed to provide knowledgeable answers to the survey, she graciously allowed me to submit this statement.
Food security and the impacts of climate change on food availability and cost are very real concerns for residents of Asheville. And the questions in the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council’s survey are both substantive and important.
Although I’ve explored both ABFPC’s website and the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability Food Policy materials (including resolutions from 2003 and 2017 and a plan to revise the Sustainability Management Plan), I confess that I don’t feel sufficiently knowledgeable to provide appropriately responsive answers to the survey questions. I don’t have a clear grasp of how many community, organizational, and funding partners are in play, how many different levels of government are involved (city, county, state, federal), and how budgets and programs are currently coordinated—and what could be improved.
I could talk in generalities about collaboration, cooperation, community investment, budget priorities, and so on—but that wouldn’t treat this topic with the seriousness that it deserves. While it might be easy to write answers filled with platitudes and buzzwords, I believe it would be disrespectful to the hard, well-informed work that so many are doing on a topic vital to Asheville residents’ well-being.
As a Councilmember, it will be my job to dig in, really explore where things stand, and discover where the levers for meaningful change are to be found. I can assure residents that I am committed to listening to and ensuring that the most vulnerable and historically excluded in our community get the priority attention and resources that they deserve through an equitable and inclusive Municipal Food Policy.
I’m grateful to have had my attention turned to this important subject and I look forward to an opportunity to learn more. As a candidate for City Council, I don’t pretend to bring deep levels of expertise to all the many aspects of City management and policy. I do, however, bring an learner’s mindset—eager to engage—and a servant’s heart to the role of Councilmember.
The original questions:
If the joint Reparations Commission identifies food security as a priority for inclusion among its recommendations, how do you envision local governments supporting the implementation of those recommendations?
Do you see it as a priority to strengthen the collaboration between city and county governments around food security for the residents of our community? If so, how would you support or facilitate that process?
How do you think climate change might impact local food security, and how might city and county policy around land use and urban agriculture improve access to food in the event of a climate disaster? How might the city and county work together to achieve this?
What is your commitment to upholding and continuing to commit resources toward the implementation of the City of Asheville’s Food Policy Action Plan?