The Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) initiative in Cambria County has prioritized building and strengthening relationships between food distributors and those who need better access to healthier foods. One of the first steps to solidifying the relationship is the new Local Food System Coordinator position.
1889 Foundation supports health and wellness in the community, and president Susan Mann served on the Johnstown-Cambria Local Foods, Local Places steering committee, led by Leanna Bird, Project Manager for 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, which established the framework for the Local Food System Coordinator position.
“Food insecurity is a social determinant of health that no one should ever need to experience,” Mann said. “There are many organizations in our region that have been working to address this issue especially with regard to access and nutrition. We are very pleased to partner with the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health to fund this position as it brings us one step closer to alleviating food insecurity in our region.”
The position is funded by a $45,000 grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (the Food Bank) and a $55,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation through the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge. The Local Food System Coordinator will be responsible for working with local farmers, producers, distributors, food security agents, and consumers to get healthy and locally produced and sourced foods into the hands of children and families in the area.
In October 2020, Mann, along with 40 other community members and Cambria County leaders, participated in a USDA-led workshop called Local Foods, Local Places. The group actively worked together to develop a food access and food systems action plan for Johnstown.
The steering committee developed four workshop goals:
- Improve coordination between community partners to advance food systems initiatives.
- Increase access to local foods that promote improved health outcomes.
- Introduce place-making best practices to enhance Johnstown as a destination for living, working, and visiting.
- Help connect food entrepreneurs to resources to establish and grow their businesses in Johnstown.
Once hired, the Local Food System Coordinator will work from the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health.
The position is now open, and the posting can be found here:
1889 Foundation supports other food initiatives, including the Cambria County Backpack Project.