UNC-Chapel Hill’s Food for All Partnership convened an urgent virtual meeting March 18 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on food systems in North Carolina — and to brainstorm potential responses.
The partnership is an interdisciplinary committee of academic and community members who meet regularly about food-related efforts on campus and in the surrounding community. The Food for All Partnership is an extension of the University-wide theme “Food for All: Local and Global Perspectives” (2015-2018), now coordinated by the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP). Dr. Alice Ammerman directs HPDP and is the Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The HPDP No Kid Hungry N.C. team shared a web-based tool that communicates where meals are available for students,, since all schools statewide currently are closed due to COVID-19. Many students depend on school meals as their primary source of food, so the summer food service program at the Department of Public Instruction is now providing meals across the state.
Ms. Andrea Reusing, the chef and owner of Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, discussed the challenges facing the restaurant industry given North Carolina’s ongoing executive order to close all restaurants to dine-in customers. Attendees discussed alternative ways of using dormant restaurant kitchens while maintaining employment for some restaurant workers, such as producing meals for those who are struggling to access food.
The group also considered policies related to food safety at food banks/pantries and farmers’ markets and investigated possible supports for keeping these venues open and safe.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on April 03