Organizations hope to bring better, more food options to Jefferson County

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 6:04 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - You’ve likely heard the saying, “you are what you eat.”

On Thursday, the Food Policy Council of Jefferson County asked North Country residents how they can provide more nutritional options for those who don’t always have access to them.

The Food Council and the Watertown Urban Mission understand how important proper nutrition is.

“We need to have access to healthy food and it needs to be equitable,” said Amanda Root, Director of Operations at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. “So for everyone in the community to be able to access it, whether that’s through a grocery store, or through a food pantry or farmer’s markets, whatever mechanism they have to access food.”

The Council held a town hall meeting at the Watertown Urban Mission. Their mission, to get a healthy meal to residents of Jefferson County, and to get feedback on how to do so.

The Food Policy Council of Jefferson County has been working for the last year to look at the strengths, the weaknesses, and some of the opportunities available in our food system,” Root said.

“We’re looking at everything from encouraging agriculture as a career, and supporting farmers as they start their careers. To food accessibility, to healthy options regardless of income, to composting,” said Dawn Cole, Executive Director of the Watertown Urban Mission.

Projects that both the Food Council and local producers hope will help bridge the gap between the farm and the kitchen table.

“Hopefully this programs provides an opportunity where it makes it easier to get the product from our farms into the places where it’s needed,” said North Branch Farms owner, Jay Canzonier.

The Food Policy Council of Jefferson County aims to take the feedback from the town halls to carry out the new programs sooner than later.

“To look at the feedback we got from the constituents that were here today and then to look at the projects and to search for funding and support to be able to move those projects to the next phase,” Root said.

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