The Rochester Food Policy Council visited Baltimore last week to meet with anti-hunger organizations and urban agriculture farms in hopes of bringing fresh, innovative ideas back to Rochester.
The Council met with staff at John Hopkins Center for Livable Futures, which have been advocating for health equity and food access for more than 25 years. They met with church leader, Pastor Michael Martin, and organizer Kim Cruise at Stillmeadow Community Fellowship to learn more about their ongoing produce box distributions as an emergency response resiliency hub for disaster relief. Pastor Michael discussed a great need in his community after a catastrophic flood in 2018 and the impact of Covid-19.
The Rochester Food Policy Council received a tour lead by Farmer Chippy of Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm, a community farm among vacant lots that focuses on growing culturally appropriate foods. Farmer Chippy spoke passionately to the Council not only about the importance of growing and providing access to nutritious, healthy food but creating partnerships within his community and focusing on youth empowerment.
The Council had a lunch meeting with Baltimore City Food Policy and Planning Team to learn about their goals and the implementation of their Produce Prescription (Rx) pilot program with MedStar Harbor Hospital. Finally, the Rochester Food Policy visited the 6.5 acres city-owned parkland urban agriculture farm, Farm Alliance. Farm Alliance received a 15-year lease and $1.5 million dollars in ARPA funds to focus on sustainable agriculture and to create a “membership-led organization” for farmers and gardeners.
The Council is excited to introduce new ideas and polices to create a healthier and equitable food system in Rochester.