The San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) hosted its third annual Nutrition Summit “Food for Tomorrow & Beyond” on Wednesday morning, addressing the impact of growing and educating about real foods.
More than 200 health care and nutrition practitioners, educators and policy makers gathered to learn about the urban agricultural movement, food insecurity and social marketing initiatives for healthy eating, and to hear a message from Mayor Ivy Taylor.
“I know there will be topics on the relationships between climate and agriculture, the barriers on growing real foods and the demand for food,” discussed Mayor Taylor. “There is a growing awareness that local and regional food systems can also help meet the needs of people with restricted access to help provide affordable food. As the day progresses, I hope you are inspired to be innovative and to engage your own community to local food systems from food production to healthy food consumption.”
In 2015, 13 percent of households (15.8 million households) were food insecure in the United States, while 17 percent of households were food insecure in Texas, stated Feeding America. However, the area served by the SAFB is at 12.9 percent.
As of 2017, the SAFB has made contributions in providing food and grocery products to more than 530 partner agencies and those items have spread out in the community to 16 counties and in Southwest Texas. The food bank has also handed out 62 million pounds of food every year – an accomplishment Food Bank President/CEO Eric Cooper is proud of.
“When people lack access to good nutrition, they are more likely to struggle with chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension,” Cooper told La Prensa. “For us at the San Antonio Food Bank, we are really trying to talk about the food quality and addressing areas of the community that lack access to healthy food.”
The City of San Antonio also plans to eliminate food deserts by recently approving a comprehensive plan for the community. The plan includes a sustainability plan, which has a food system component. The vision is for all San Antonians to benefit from a thriving food system that’s accessible, secure, nutritious and affordable.
Since the City has approved amendments to the Cities Unified Development Code (an amendment that allows gardeners to grow food as well as sell produce in their own garden or farm) in December of 2015, they have reached more underserved communities to gain healthier food options.
Currently, the City is coordinating with Bexar County to create more urban agricultural opportunities in places similar to Menger Creek, as well as continue to partner with the SAFB to develop new plans for San Antonio to gain healthier eating habits in the future.
For more information about the SAFB, visit www.safoodbank.org. You can also find them on Facebook at facebook.com/safoodbank or on Twitter at twitter.com/safoodbank.