Food is Public Health oversight hearing takes place in Western Mass.

Damarais Arroyo (center), Food Assistance Referral Coordinator, The Food Bank

The Food Bank was honored to work with Senator Jo Comerford to organize a hearing about the impact of food insecurity on public health before the Joint Committee on Public Health. Members of the Committee traveled to Greenfield Community College (GCC) to hear panelists speak about food as medicine, food deserts, healthy food access, the role of agriculture in public health, breakfast after the bell, and much more! The day began with a tour of Just Roots Farm in Greenfield, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that subsidizes farm share prices for low income members. The Event was co-sponsored by GCC, the MA Food Systems Caucus, the MA Farm Bureau, The Food Systems Collaborative, CISA, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts.

Two Food Bank employees were amongst the panelists. Food Assistance Referral Coordinator Damaris Arroyo spoke about her work at Holyoke Health Center helping to connect food insecure individuals with resources. Director of Programs Christina Maxwell spoke about the work The Food Bank does to alleviate food insecurity and the impact of the associated costs on our economy – $53 billion annually nationwide and $1.9 billion in MA.