The People’s Food Summit

June 3, 2017
10:00 am-3:00 pm

Riverside Park
2420 E. Riverside Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Sponsored by the City of Indianapolis, Indy Food Council and Purdue Extension-Marion County

Mayor Joe Hogsett is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and solving issues of food access and food security in Indianapolis. Across the city, and especially in low-income neighborhoods, residents may face barriers to accessing healthy and affordable food. Lack of access to nutritious food can negatively affect diet and health, and can often be traced as a root cause of crime. The People’s Food Summit aims to bring together the people of the City of Indianapolis and Marion County with City officials and subject-matter experts to engage in developing a comprehensive strategy for addressing problems of limited food access.

The People’s Food Summit’s Morning Session will include an exploration of current and upcoming activities across Marion County that seek to improve food access. The Morning Session will be followed by a catered lunch provided by the Indy Food Council.

The People’s Food Summit’s Afternoon Session will include strategic planning preparation led by Purdue Extension-Marion County. The session will allow community members to organize themselves based on their personal interests in the food system and defined strategic topics. Each strategic working group will develop a vision, mission, objectives and strategies to create a positive impact on Marion County’s food system. Following the Summit, the working groups will dedicate themselves to three subsequent meetings to develop a comprehensive, replicable strategy to addressing a specific food access challenge. By the end of the year, all strategic documents will be compiled to create a county-wide, community-based strategy for food access.

Strategic Topics
The following topics will guide the strategic planning process. The strategic topics encompass all aspects of the City of Indianapolis’ and Marion County’s food system; from agricultural production to food service outlets.

1. Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture involves cultivating, processing, and distributing food in a city. Urban agriculture can also involve community gardening, animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping and horticulture.

2. Alternatives to Retail Supermarkets
Nontraditional forms of healthy food retail, outside of supermarkets, that are bringing fresh food to residents of underserved communities. In many cases these markets have adopted unique and innovative business strategies to successfully serve consumers. Examples include mobile delivery, farmers’ markets, buying clubs, etc.

3. Improvements to Food Service
More than 30 million U.S. schoolchildren eat at least one cafeteria meal per school day. Over one-quarter of people in the U.S. eat at a fast-food restaurant two or more times per week. Although schools and restaurants have taken strides to include healthier options in the last several years, there is still work to be done.

4. Health & Nutrition
The complement to improving accessibility and availability of healthy, affordable food is educating individuals on the benefits of good health and nutrition. These activities also include support for breastfeeding mothers. Educational and community-based programs encourage and enhance health and nutrition by educating community members on various topics.

5. Transportation
Improving transportation options to and from such food sources as supermarkets and farmers’ markets increases a community’s access to healthy foods. Transportation improvements may include increasing bus routes to food retailers and supermarket-sponsored shuttle services.

6. Hunger Relief
One in five residents of Marion County is food insecure, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal will come from. Despite federal nutrition programs and charitable hunger relief organizations providing assistance, hunger is still a persistent problem in our city. Hunger relief partners are working on new ways to improve access to healthy foods for all Marion County residents.