Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Wake County, North Carolina
Population: 1 million (US Census, 2017)
Wake County, North Carolina, through its food council, called the Capital Area Food Network, has developed a comprehensive plan to address the issue of food security. The plan involves collaboration between nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and local government to ensure that all residents have adequate access to healthy food. It is an ambitious action plan designed to attack food insecurity from all sides.
Progress to date:
According to their March newsletter, the Capital Area Food Network is making progress implementing the plan. In February the Wake County Board of Commissioners officially endorsed the plan. CAFN has also recently developed a list of all of Wake County’s community gardens as a resource for the public.
Food policy category:
With an overall goal of improving food security within Wake County, the plan lays out the following five broad objectives:
How it works:
In 2014, the Capital Area Food Network, convened to explore the issue of childhood hunger. They soon discovered the complexity of the problem. They realized that any successful approach to dealing with food insecurity would require collaboration among multiple sectors of the economy and society. As a result, they developed Moving Beyond Hunger: Comprehensive Food Security Plan and Action Manual for Wake County. Below are some of the ways in which the Capital Area Food Network aims to achieve its five objectives.
Ensure Food Access
Communicate and Educate
Develop a Sustainable Food Supply
Build Economic Opportunity
Leading Through Networks
Why it is important:
The USDA defines low food security as “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” with “little or no indication of reduced food intake” and very low food security as “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.” In Wake County, 131,800 residents are considered to have either low food security or very low food security. At 13.8% or 1 in 7, that is slightly higher than the national average of 12.3%, as reported by the USDA. The incidence of food insecurity among children is even higher, with 1 in 5 children suffering from food insecurity.
Wake County is the second fastest growing county in the United States, with a growth rate of 14%. Lawmakers and community leaders have decided that they need to address the issue of food insecurity now, before it expands along with the county’s rapidly growing population. Since Wake County includes both the urban area of Raleigh and the surrounding rural areas, a comprehensive approach is necessary in order to positively impact the county’s full diversity and complexity.
Point of Contact:
Capital Area Food Network