News Releases from Region 03

Project encourages community-led downtown and neighborhood revitalization, enhanced local economies and job creation, improved diet and health, and increased environment protection efforts

06/03/2021

PHILADELPHIA (June 3, 2021) – The Biden administration announced today that the City of Norfolk is one of 13 communities selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service to assist in tackling food insecurity. The aide is provided through Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all residents as they develop the local food economy.

“The City of Norfolk has an innovative program that will not only provide fresh produce, but it will boost economic opportunities for local farmers,” said Diana Esher, EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator. “We’ve seen the success over the years and how this program works and creates an impact. We can’t wait to see how it benefits the residents in Norfolk.”

The program will address food insecurities in the Southside area and the St. Paul area of Norfolk. Both are challenged by insufficient local access to grocery stores and fresh food. The city is considering converting a transit bus into a “Mobile Farmer’s Market.” The bus would travel to local farmers’ areas to purchase local and fresh produce and then sell it at an open-air market on the weekends. In addition, the city plans to utilize street level retail space to offer nutritional education classes teaching residents how to prepare healthy meals.

“Norfolk is committed to ensuring residents have consistent access to healthy food,” said Jared Chalk, Director of Norfolk’s Economic Development Department.” Creative solutions like the mobile farmer’s market concept to be explored through the Local Foods Local Places program are part of a holistic effort to combat nutritional and health disparities in our city.”

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 revitalization of often-overlooked neighborhoods in the community.

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 were selected from 97 applicants from 11 different states/territories: Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, California and Washington. A summary of planned projects and more details on LFLP can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places.

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