The FSC-GNV met on September 21 2021. The topic for this meeting was Food Access & Community Wellness. Contact information for the attendees below may be provided upon request. Please email for assistance connecting to FSC-GNV participants. To download and share these meeting notes, access the PDF version HERE.

Karissa RaskinCivic Collaboration Supervisor – City of Gainesville; Facilitator of FSC-GNV
John NixLocal farmer; Energy Engineer for ACPS
Miranda Carver MartinIndependent Community Member/Volunteer/Consultant
Kathleen PaganSenior Planner in Growth Management Dept. for Alachua County
Dina LiebowitzProgram Coordinator for UF Field and Fork
Denise JavierHealth Educator in Obesity Prevention Program at Dept. of Health – Alachua
Matt MuellerDirector, Food and Beverage Services at UF
Mia JonesChildren’s Trust of Alachua County
Alfredo MoralesFree Grocery Store
Brandy StoneCivic Collaboration Specialist – City of Gainesville
Candi MorrisAlachua County WIC Program
Bakari McClendonTallahassee Food Network / GNV Resident
Shelley RogersAces in Motion
Chanae JacksonCommunity Activist
Eric CokerAssistant Professor, College of Public Health, Environmental and Global Health
Madison BormanFood Recovery Network at UF

What is the FSC-GNV?

Partner News and Updates for September 21 2021

UF Food and Beverage

  • The Dining Program Contract is out for bid currently. There are 3 bidders who have toured and gone through the pre-bid conference. The proposal deadline October 6th. In November, each bidder will be presenting their proposal to the ITN committee. This committee includes representatives from across UF, such as students, faculty, staff and administrators. The ITN shares the minimum with the hopes that the applicants would expand upon the expectations. The ITN has an emphasis on local engagement and partnership, events, sustainability, and working across the university.
  • Local Restaurant Row – Currently have 1 local restaurant a day in the student union. This fall, there are 2 local restaurant partners each day. This initiative has exceeded expectations, being well-received by students. This past Saturday, there were 2 vendors in the Local Row during the football game, which was very successful for both restaurants. They are hoping for a diversity of vendors and ownership. When “local” is used, that includes vendors, products, and producers. The restaurant row has been the start of the local emphasis that dining services is working towards. Currently, there are 20 other restaurants have that have expressed interest in being a vendor at Local Row. Looking forward, they are hoping to offer dinner and serve special events as well.
  • UF Dining Services is happy to have RDNs come out to events and community partners and to support nutrition education. Matt is happy to build partnerships with colleagues to support that.
  • Questions:
    • With UF Health and NFRMC dining services, is it possible to use Local Restaurant Row as a model for other institutions? This is an Aramark concept. They do it a little differently than Aramark does. Matt is also the lead around using food trucks as a catering option. He can help with licensing, insurance, etc and share best practices with others. There are separate food-related processes with other contracts across the university, such as UAA. Matt highlighted that it is important to understand the needs of the students/customers, and the business – like their hours, staffing, etc with this initiative. Group suggestion to create a toolkit around the process and way they have engaged local partners.
    • What is the definition of “local”? Asking suppliers first where they procure from. Typically local is 250 miles, but that doesn’t get all of Florida and yet includes parts of GA and SC. UF usually looks at Gainesville, then Alachua County, then the state of Florida. They are trying to make year over year improvements in local procurement in various “buckets” where possible. This also means coming back to certain things when it makes sense financially.
    • Noted that its important to also balance cost with locality, not making local products cost-prohibitive. “As local as possible” is also verbiage used.
    • Do the dining halls still have the composting partnership with IFAS? Yes, 2 dining halls are still composting. There is also a program tracking compost waste in the student union as well. Part of the ITN is asking about composting plans. Overall, the goal is to make composting mandatory with dining program.
    • Is there any information that will be shared with consumers about locality with restaurant row, as the definition can be ambiguous? All business must meet UF standards. In the future, they would like to move their principles to other vendors on campus to help source more locally.
      • Suggestion as an opportunity to educate and provide outreach to business participating in restaurant row about procuring locally. Potentially requiring webinar/course for that to them as they come on board.

Alachua County

  • At the Freedom Center of Kanapaha Veterans Park at 4pm on Thursday 9/23, there will be a focus group for local farmers/ranchers discussing the meat processing plant and the potential for siting it in Newberry. The address is 7400 SW 41st Place (off of Tower Road.)  The project leader is Sean McLendon,
  • Following the Joint City/County Food Systems Policy Board Meeting, Bruce Waite noted that there is a plethora of information available around food safety and the importance of that with many of the upcoming initiatives, like Produce Rx and Mobile Markets. He also mentioned  how produce can lose nutritional value if not processed appropriately, so it is important to have refrigeration and proper equipment.
  • There is a Farmshare Giveaway this Thursday 9/23 from 9a-12p at YouthBuild (635 NW 6th St). Drive thru distribution for the first who arrive.

John Nix

  • There is an upcoming virtual event sponsored by the NAACP Environmental Justice Committee. This event, “Moving Toward 100% Clean Energy,” starts at 9am on Saturday, September 25th. The 4 topics to be discussed include renewable energy, weatherization. John is  presenting on sustainable food systems, and equity.
  • Questions:
    • Will composting and the food waste hierarchy topics be covered in the conference? John’s portion will be on composting and waste and identifying programs that are available around that.

Free Grocery Store

  • They have reopened the waitlist and are accepting new recipients again.
  • Currently, FGS is working to prioritize community support over individual support.
  • Call for support/advice around how to prioritize those on waitlists and volunteers.
    • Understanding capacity for organization first is important.
    • Identify centralized locations in areas of highest need
    • For recipients – are there children in the home? Elderly? Mobility challenges?
    • Grace Grows selection process for Community Advisory Board being shared to support the work of FGS.
    • Great to know community organizations who are providing similar services to work together to expand reach, especially with providing additional food at events.
  • Currently have a surplus of food so please encourage anyone in need to reach out.
  • Thank you to coalition partners around providing food and support for FGS!

City of Gainesville

  • Zero Waste Subcommittee – There is a currently a drafted Food Waste Ordinance that will be rolling -out in the near future. This ordinance will first affect grocery stores, then institutions, and restaurants, in a phased implementation. The ordinances establishes the food waste diversion hierarchy for commercial generators that produce more than one cubic yard of food waste per week. It is important to understand how diversion will affect those who receive the wasted food so the City is developing a survey to facilitate for pantries and food banks in order to understand their infrastructure needs and volunteer resources, as ordinance will likely cause an influx of donations to their organizations. This survey seeks to understand gaps to support organizations in multiple capacities.
    • The MEANS database will be helpful here with this diversion work. MEANS assists with coordinating pick-up and drop-off of food that can be consumed. This makes it easier on non-profits who are already doing the work.
  • Grocery Store Initiative – Based on preliminary community conversations, the private developer has requested a 90-day pause on the next steps of the proposal. This time will be used to create a more robust community engagement process. They are currently negotiating with the seller about how long it can be delayed. If date is negotiated for later, the team would create an engagement strategy and the city would review that before implementation.
  • Federal government funds related to economic development and COVID relief are readily available. Karissa is looking into a large grant covering a large region of Florida to transform food systems here. FSC has often talked about a Regional Food Hub. It is believed that the Alachua County Public Schools Food Hub will be able to be expanded on NE 8th Ave. Currently looking at how to support the farm-to-school-to-work and greenhouse initiative there to build on existing infrastructure to support institutions and local restaurants.
  • Questions:
    • When does the 90-day time frame for the grocery store pause end? September 1st was roughly the first day of the 90-day period. This 90-day period asked for with expectation that the time period would be used to conduct community engagement process. It may also be 90-days from when the seller agrees with the delay in sale.
    • Where does the city stand in terms of providing the loan for the grocery store? It was shared that in-depth due-diligence process was occurring and will continue if process is resumed. Due-diligence is similar to deep background check and contract would not move forward if the findings from that were not satisfactory. The terms were being fleshed-out, as City has say in terms as a result of loan incentive. If process resumes, the contract will be put out for public comment for neighbors to provide feedback. If the deal continues, that contract will be drafted and shared with the community soon after. The sale and purchase of the plaza are dependent on city loan, as there are a number of infrastructure improvements needed to the building and conversion expenses. This project is not the end of the conversation with the grocery store in the community, still a priority of the City if this current process does not continue.

College of Public Health at UF – EPA Project

  • Dr. Eric Coker is currently working on a project funded by the EPA around innovative water use and technology. The goal is to focus on aquaculture. Florida has treated water reuse programs but only about 6% goes to agriculture.
  • They are collaborating with GRU on this to develop in the agricultural space. Working on aquaculture program.
  • A large piece is a community engagement component to include environmental justice work. This will occur for the first 2 years and will be formative work to generate partnerships with those working on food justice on the Eastside of Gainesville. Next component is qualitative information gathering about knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about water reuse for agriculture.
  • The years 3 and 4 will be used to translate what they learned from years 1-2 to conduct community-based participatory research on the quality of food that is grown locally versus in an aquaculture setting. The last component of the project is working with community partners to develop a sustainable, healthy, safe, local agricultural system.
  • Recommendation to reach out to Greater Duval Neighborhood Association and engage the community early on.
  • Contact info for the County Water Conservation Coordinator shared. Context shared about past aquaculture initiative that was not moved forward around the concern with water use at Santa Fe lake so this is likely to be seen positively as it is focused on water reuse.
  • Questions
    • Are there sites in mind for the implementation of the program? At UF? Kanapaha facility of GRU will be research and development site. Working to keep the implementation/CBPR site flexible based on what is learned from the community.
    • Suggestion to reach out to John Nix and Kelli Brew from the Farm to School program. This project could be incorporated into the Food Hub initiative.
    • How does this project build resilience? Hopeful to Include nutrition education, job development.
    • Is there an opportunity to include other R&D in this? Heritage seed collective opportunity for nutrient dense, sustainable produce.

Tallahassee Food Network

  • The 10th Annual Youth Symposium occurring virtually (sending Karissa information) – Saturday 10/23 at 10am.
  • They are interested in getting something similar to the Youth Symposium started here in Gainesville.
  • Currently planning a growers mini-conference in Tallahassee. They are seeking a grant to support that event. Goal is to create a regional network of Black farmers who are growing sustainably. They do have stipends and accommodation support to provide to those traveling out of town. Also working on the challenges with heired land policies within the EPA. Please share with local Black farmers.
    • Alachua County Equity and Community Outreach Manager (Diedre Houchen) contact info shared.

Food Systems Coalition General Announcements forSeptember 21 2021

  • FSC is looking to do a community review of the website. Grant funding was awarded to maintain the website for 3 years and to provide an incentive to individuals able to do a review of the website. Call for FSC members to participate in that review and also share out to individuals who may be interested in doing a website review. More information coming, including a flyer to share.
  • Monthly newsletter will be starting to include meeting notes, partner events and information, and any volunteer requests.
  • Please submit any work that you are doing to the website to be posted.
  • Suggestion to use Slack for communication with the group.
Food Access and Community Wellness Notes from September 21 2021

One thought on “Food Access and Community Wellness Notes from September 21 2021

  • October 5, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Excellent communications! Plenty of information on local food systems activities in this email and on related links. Looking forward to the next meeting. Keep up the good work!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *