Originally published by 22 News, WWLP on Wednesday, May 23, 2019. Written by Jennifer Zarate.
A group met on Wednesday to make sure healthy food is available to everyone in western Massachusetts.
The Franklin County Food Council brought together groups from across the state on Wednesday to talk about expanding access to food services.
Among those in attendance was the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, who spearheaded the Food is Medicine State Plan along with Community Servings, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides food services to people with critical and chronic illnesses.
“We want to make sure that we bring those resources to western Mass as well. And so the Food is Medicine State Plan is an attempt to do that, right, to figure out where the resources are across our state and where the need is,” said Sarah Downer from the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School.
Downer told 22News, it’s been a year and half of gathering data to finally release the State Plan in June of this year. “That will begin the kick off of the implementation of the recommendations and the blueprint for expansion of services that we’ve created,” she added.
The state’s Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Ashley Randle told 22News, the passing of the 2018 federal farm bill helped Franklin County farms produce the food needed to help make programs like Food is Medicine possible.
“There’s a lot of growth in the area; in the amount of farmland and their production levels, and for our farmers they’re looking to produce a wholesome, healthy, high-quality product from the Berkshires down to the Cape,” said Randle.
The upcoming launch event will be held at the State House in Boston on June 18.