Asheville City Council is thinking about your stomach — and stomachs all over Asheville, in fact.
At their Tuesday, Jan. 22, meeting, they will consider Asheville’s Food Action Plan, thanks to the work of the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council (FPC), which wrote the document. If Council accepts the plan, it will play a role in its future decisions, functioning similarly to the Sustainability Management Plan.
The plan doesn’t cost anything; rather, it encourages Council to make a commitment to thinking about food more generally. “Anything they bring forward is done in the light of this standing policy,” says Gordon Smith, a member of City Council and the FPC. “When community development is looking at where to place housing, they’re also going to be considering, ‘Where are the food deserts? Can this housing include a market? Can it include a garden?’”
A food desert is an area in which fresh produce and nutritious food are difficult to access, Smith explains, especially for people who don’t own a car. In food deserts, people often rely on convenience stores, fast food and delivery items.
The plan also addresses food security: “All citizens should have access to healthy, nutritious food and … our community should be able to sustain its nutritional needs year-round,” it states.
To read the full plan, visit http://www.abfoodpolicy.org/asheville-buncombe-food-action-plan.
If you like the sound of the policy, it’s easy to get involved with the FPC. The group holds a meeting on Friday, Feb. 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Mountain View Room of UNCA’s Sherrill Center.
They’re also celebrating their first birthday. Over the last year, they’ve coordinated the activities of dozens of local organizations that promote local agriculture, food security and environmental sustainability.
Many small groups make up the FPC, so prospective volunteers can find a niche within a cluster that suits their skill sets and interests.
For more information, visit abfoodpolicy.org or search for “Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council” on Facebook.