is our role with the City of Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy. The Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy was established by City ordinance in 1991 to implement recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Hunger. Continuously operational since then, its purpose is to integrate all City agencies in a common effort to improve the availability of safe and nutritious food at reasonable prices for allHartford residents, particularly those in need.
to a happy, healthy, and productive life in the City;
of safe and nutritious food is available for City residents;
is not limited by economic status, location, or other factors beyond a resident’s control; and
in the City remains at a level approximating the level for the state.
As part of its advisory role to city officials, the Commission annually prepares a series of recommendations on food and nutrition issues. Recent recommendations include supporting mid-sized grocery stores, ensuring that all schools in Hartford have active gardens, and reducing food waste.
The City of Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy has just released its 2020 annual report containing an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on Hartford and policy recommendations to rebuild in the pandemic’s aftermath. The report is explicit about the role systemic racism has played in exacerbating the harm of the pandemic for people of color, and outlines what steps must be taken to correct these injustices. This year, the policy recommendations fall into three categories: support business and job recovery (expanding small business loans/grants and prioritizing those with living wage jobs, support redevelopment of the Hartford Regional Market); protect and expand emergency food aid (increase SNAP benefits, fund farmers’ market incentive programs); and develop a plan for growing and processing food in Hartford (develop targets for growing and processing food and identify best practices for encouraging more food production).
The commission has also submitted proposed changes to its founding ordinance, to reflect a broader approach to food policy and alter the membership to be more equitable. The proposed changes would expand the Commission’s goals from solely addressing hunger to also advocating for more production of food in the city, more sustainable practices throughout the food system, more community control over the food system, and ensuring access to nutritious, culturally relevant food. The changes would also increase the membership from 15 to 21 persons, introduce term limits (two three-year terms), and require that 2/3rds of the membership are Hartford residents. The changes to membership emphasize the need for the commission to reflect Hartford’s demographics.
In February 2017, Community Solutions, Inc. engaged Wholesome Wave, a Connecticut-based, national non-profit experienced in programs, policy and research focused on food access, affordability, and government food assistance, and Hartford Food System, a Hartford-based nonprofit with expertise in culturally responsive urban food access programming and convening, to develop a tactical implementation plan to address the challenges of food access and affordability in the North End of Hartford. Support for this project was provided by Well Being 360, a national effort of Trinity Health,and Rx Foundation. This report is the culmination of the process, including opportunities that, when coupled with the correct partnerships, funding, and leveraged resources, could significantly help residents optimize government food assistance and incentive programs, increase food security, and decrease food-related diseases in Hartford’s North End. These opportunities are also scalable to the rest of the city of Hartford and beyond.
Hartford Food System was founded in 1978. Since then, we have been dedicated to finding long-term solutions for access to affordable and healthy food in our home city of Hartford.
190 Wethersfield Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114