Article and photos by Urban Alliance staff.
On Monday, October 17, Urban Alliance (UA) had the opportunity to share with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, at Hartford's Advisory Commission on Food Policy's World Food Day Breakfast, how UA initiatives continue to align with and support the Commission's recommendations for improving food security and access to safe, nutritious food in the city.
Angela Colantonio, Urban Alliance's Director of Implementation,Health & Basic Needs Initiatives, represents UA on the Commission, which develops a report of policy and recommendations to the city each year.
The priority recommendation is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption using federal and state food assistance benefits, in addition to recommendations to increase participation in the Summer Meals Program, support mid-sized grocery stores in Hartford as sources of affordable, fresh, healthy food, and reduce food waste.
Through Urban Alliance's Revitalize initiative, UA encourages and increases access for Hartford residents to utilize local farmers markets, which accept and often incentivize the use of food assistance benefits, and promotes the free Summer Meals Program.
Through Urban Alliance's Next Generation initiative, UA connects local churches and organizations with Community Renewal Team (CRT), an organization that sponsors the Summer Meals Program and provides a stipend for a teen or young adult to help manage the program to manage program implementation and engage children in the community.
And through Urban Alliance's Beyond the Basics initiative, community resource coaches help residents achieve greater life stability and gain knowledge and skills to choose healthy food options, which develops a customer base for mid-sized grocery stores that offer healthy, affordable food in the city.
"Urban Alliance values the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Commission around efforts that complement and align with activities across UA initiatives," said Angela Colantonio, "because food security in Hartford significantly impacts the health and well-being of families that live and serve in the city."