Federal government to assist Norfolk in tackling food insecurity

The Biden Administration announced that Norfolk will be receiving assistance from the federal government to ensure Norfolk has access to fresh, healthy food.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk was selected by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to take part in the Local Foods, Local Places federal initiative. 

13 communities were selected Thursday, to take part in LFLP which helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods to improve quality of life for all residents, and develop the local food in the economy. 

“The City of Norfolk has an innovative program that will not only provide fresh produce, but it will boost economic opportunities for local farmers,” said Diana Esher, EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator. “We’ve seen the success over the years and how this program works and creates an impact. We can’t wait to see how it benefits the residents in Norfolk.”

The program will look at the southside area of Norfolk and the St. Paul area. According to a news release from the Environmental Protection Agency, “both are challenged by insufficient local access to grocery stores and fresh food.”

The city is thinking about converting a transit bus into a mobile farmer’s market, which could travel to local markets, purchase produce, and then sell it on the weekends. 

Additionally, Norfolk officials plan to utilize street retail space to offer education classes teaching people how to prepare healthy meals. 

“Norfolk is committed to ensuring residents have consistent access to healthy food,” said Jared Chalk, Director of Norfolk’s Economic Development Department.” Creative solutions like the mobile farmer’s market concept to be explored through the Local Foods Local Places program are part of a holistic effort to combat nutritional and health disparities in our city.” 

Each of the 13 communities selected will work with federal, state, and regional experts to address local issues in regards to agriculture, the environment, public health, and equity. 

Since LFLP was launched in 2014, they have helped more than 125 communities across the country, and Norfolk is next! 

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