The initiative aims to increase the community presence of supermarkets and food hubs supplying locally grown food
MOBILE, Ala., June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – The Emerging ChangeMakers Network (“ECN”) today announces its new collaboration with healthy food activists at PolicyLink, The Reinvestment Fund, and The Food Trust, as it seeks funding for a healthy foods initiative in Alabama.
“Alabama has a rich heritage of growing healthy food and feeding our own communities,” said Jessica Norwood, ECN Founder and Director. “Right now, Alabamians spend $2.2 billion to purchase food from outside the state. That’s 92 percent of all food dollars leaving our community. If we can reclaim a portion of this, we can help bring real wealth into the hands of Alabamians,” Ms. Norwood said.
“We are embarking on a mission to create food hubs for distribution, more supermarkets, food cooperatives–even small food trucks– so that people in our underserved communities will have healthy food, grown locally. ECN is delighted to be the new Alabama stakeholder in this network of activists,” she said.
These nonprofit organizations support the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (“HFFI”), created in 2011 to fight the growing number of food deserts in the U.S. “Food deserts” are communities–predictably, low-income areas–where residents do not have access to affordable and healthy food. Both the House and Senate versions of the 2013 Farm Bill contain directives for $35 million in funding for HFFI, as well as additional incentives through the New Markets Tax Credit program.
Ms. Norwood created ECN in 2007 to connect emerging leaders back to their communities in the rural South. It is now a 500+ membership organization in Alabama, working to address economic inequity by creating strategies to support investment in healthy food systems. The Ford Foundation has been a financial supporter of ECN as part of the Foundation’s project, Wealth Creation in Rural America.
Jessica Norwood is a community activist, advocate for rural wealth creation, and a frequent speaker on community development and leadership, voting rights, and funding for agriculture production and distribution. She is a recipient of the 2012 “40 Under 40″ award from Mobile Bay [Alabama] Magazine.
Contact: Phoebe Hodges-Carter
Emerging ChangeMakers Network