Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan
Overview: The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council has released a food action plan focusing on equity, sustainability, nutrition, and food security for Allegheny County and beyond.
Location: Allegheny County, PA
Population: 1.2 million
Food policy category: Food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, food supply and distribution, food waste, nutrition
Program goals: To create a regional food system that focuses on equity and supports public health, natural resources, and the economy.
How it works: The food action plan has five goals with 150 strategies for achieving them. The goals are, as stated on the action plan website:
The plan was released during a Zoom meeting of more than 120 participants who identified nine main action steps:
Smaller working groups have been meeting over the past few months to develop plans for addressing each action step, and more details will be announced in the new year.
Progress to date: The PFPC began working on the action plan in 2017 and released it at their monthly meeting on September 29, 2020.
Why it is important: The COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice issues of 2020 have helped to shed a light on the inequities and inequalities in the Greater Pittsburgh area food systems.
Twenty percent of Pittsburgh residents are food insecure, meaning they do not have access to an adequate amount of healthy food. Those who are most vulnerable to food insecurity include low-income residents and people of color. In Allegheny County, 13 percent of residents live below the poverty line, and approximately one-third of Pittsburgh residents live at or near the poverty line. The demographic groups associated with a higher risk of being poor include those with single mothers, people of color, people with disabilities, children, and the elderly.
Furthermore, 30 to 40 percent of all food that is produced in America goes to waste. This exacerbates the unequal access to food because those who can afford to buy enough food often buy more than they need and end up wasting it, while others struggle on a daily basis to make sure their families have something to eat.
There are many social, economic, and racial factors that contribute to food insecurity and related health inequalities. The Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan has been designed to address these underlying issues in order to improve food access, nutrition, health, and overall well-being.
Program/Policy initiated: The action plan was released on September 29, 2020.
Point of contact:
Dawn Plummer, Executive Director
Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
Email: [email protected]
Similar practices: Other locales that have, or have previously had, a food action plan include Santa Barbara County, California; Mendocino County, California; Columbus and Franklin Counties, Ohio; and Seattle, Washington.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted.