203441 San Mateo County food system alliance: Linking health and local agriculture to create a food system that is economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially equitable

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:30 PM

Jennifer Lynn Gross, MPH , Health Policy & Planning, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Joseph McIntyre, MA , Ag Innovations Network, Sebastopol, CA
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH , Health Officer, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
The San Mateo County Food System Alliance (SMCFSA) is among the first countywide coalition of farmers, fishermen, restaurateurs, public health professionals, environmental advocates, and residents that seek to support local agriculture, fisheries and a healthy food system. After a formal getting acquainted process facilitated by Ag Innovations Network, members of the SMCFSA identified three goals: to promote comprehensive garden-based education programs at all local elementary schools, to enhance the connection between local producers and large institutional buyers of food, and to encourage increased local food production by looking at land use patterns in the county.

Accomplishments and outcomes include the SMCFSA Talking Points, a document that describes why farming and fishing matter in the county; convening hospital food service directors to explore how to procure local, healthy food; creating a centralized location where the Second Harvest Food Bank's trucks can collect fresh produce from farmers and where they can purchase produce at a pre-agreed price from the Farm Bureau; and advocacy for a Farm Bill that supports health and improves the environment.

The SMCFSA has faced challenges such as varied level of participation, selecting projects that align with multiple organizations' missions, competing priorities, determining how to incorporate underrepresented voices, and the complexity of the food system. Members have recognized that it takes time to build relationships, people need to feel comfortable sharing issues that are important to them before selecting a project, and the group needs to choose projects that are fun and supported by most stakeholders.

Learning Objectives:
1) Discuss approaches to creating a food system that is economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially equitable. 2) Describe the process of identifying key strategies for a countywide food alliance. 3) List at least two key components to forming a successful countywide food alliance.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the founding members of the San Mateo County Food System Alliance and have participated in monthly meetings for the past 1.5 years.I am a Community Health Planner with the San Mateo County Health Department and am an active participant in one of the three committees of this alliance: the farm to institution committee.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.