President Joe Biden’s (D) Environmental Protection Agency has selected the City of Jersey City as one of 13 communities to participate in the Local Food, Local Places program.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“EPA is proud to partner with Jersey City and the residents of the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood to support local food initiatives that improve access to fresh foods, support and grow new business and protect the environment,” Acting EPA Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan said in a statement.
The federal partnership program supports community-led efforts to reinvest in existing neighborhoods, protect the environment, and improves residents’ health and quality of life through the development of the local food economy.
Under the LFLP program, the City of Jersey City is partnering with residents of the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood to establish a “food value chain” embedded within the community.
The goal is to increase demand for healthy local food, support the local economy by highlighting healthy food businesses, and connect unemployed residents with jobs in food production, aggregation, distribution, service, and disposal.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring together key Jersey City stakeholders to focus on healthy food access and economic revitalization in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in his own statement.
“Throughout my administration, we have focused a significant amount of City resources into Bergen-Lafayette, and these community convenings will allow us to make important connections to help bring good food and good jobs into one of our most unserved communities.”
A Steering Committee comprised of city officials and community members will provide guidance throughout the program’s implementation and operation.
The nine-member committee includes Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3), Health and Human Services Director Stacey Flanagan, Housing Authority Executive Director Vivian Brady-Philips, and Economic Development Director Jose Arango – who is also the county GOP chair.
Each selected community will work with a team of federal, state, and regional experts to address local agricultural, environmental, public health, economic development, and equity issues.
Together, they will develop a community-led action plan to strengthen the local food system and spur the revitalization of often-overlooked neighborhoods in the community.
“Local Foods, Local Places is a great example of how federal and local partners can come together to support community efforts that build food systems, improve equitable access to healthy food, create job opportunities, and enhance environmental protection efforts,” added EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“I am excited to see how these communities thrive over the next several years and become models for other locations across the nation.”
Since its launch in 2014, LFLP has assisted more than 125 communities across the country to develop local food enterprises, such as farmers’ markets, community gardens, cooperative grocery stores, and food hubs that improve environmental, economic, and health outcomes.
The 13 partner communities selected for the LFLP program are located in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.