Rocky Mount, NC: Fighting Poverty With Local Food Projects

Rocky Mount is now among 26 other communities chosen by the Obama administration to participate in the Local Foods, Local Places economic development project.

The communities – selected from 316 applicants - are spread across 19 states; each will receive technical assistance from federal agencies on specific economic development programs that involve food. The project is a partnership among USDA, EPA, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Local Foods, Local Places will provide the technical resources each community needs to take innovative ideas and put them into a plan of action ready for implementation.

So What Does It Mean For Rocky Mount?

As a part of the federal initiative, Rocky Mount will receive technical support in integrating local food systems into community economic action plans. According to the EPA, under this effort “a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health and regional economic experts” will work with the city of Rocky Mount to develop local food projects that increase access to healthy food choices and support the creation of ag-related businesses and jobs.

Healthier Food Options For Residents

Although potential projects are still in the discussion phase, the following are examples of what we might see come to fruition in Rocky Mount.

• Repurposing some unproductive city-owned FEMA land for age-related business development
• Creative partnerships that increase access to fresh, healthy food in underserved neighborhoods
• Developing a sustainable support network for neighborhood community gardens

“Our agencies are working together to make a visible difference in communities," said EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg. "By promoting farmers markets, community kitchens, and other efforts to increase access to healthy food, we are supporting local businesses in struggling downtown neighborhoods and preserving farms and undeveloped land. It’s good for people’s health, good for the economy, and good for the environment.”

Interested in learning more about local food development in the area? See our recent article on Nash Hospital’s chaplain, Reverend Richard Joyner.


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