Supervisors Build on Effort to Fight Hunger with New Office of Food Equity
Los Angeles, CA – Today, the LA County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Lindsey Horvath building on the County’s efforts to fight growing food insecurity in our region by establishing a new LA County Office of Food Equity.
“During the pandemic, the County, our philanthropic partners and the community- based organizations on the frontlines worked together to get food and healthy meals to residents and families who needed it. The worst of the pandemic is behind us, but hunger and food insecurity aren’t,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn. “By creating the first-ever LA County Office of Food Equity, we can build on the work we already started with our partners, modernize our food system, and work toward a future where everyone in LA County can get the healthy food they need.”
Current data shows that more than 1 million Los Angeles County households face food insecurity each year, with Black and Latino residents more than twice as likely to experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is also correlated by location with an insufficient number of grocery stores and food assistance programs located in the Antelope Valley, East Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles County, and South Los Angeles neighborhoods.
“Through the commitment of incredible philanthropic partners, LA County was able to fill a life-saving need for thousands of households through food distribution events during the height of the pandemic,” said Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath. “We know the need has only grown, particularly for communities of color who lack access to fresh food. The Office of Food Equity will build on this successful public-private partnership model to continue to provide nutritious food to residents who are counting on us.”
This new Office of Food Equity will expand on the efforts of the Food Equity Roundtable created under the leadership of Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in 2021. The Food Equity Roundtable brought together the major food players –CBOs from the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic partners in our County with funding provided by the Annenberg Foundation, the California Community Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation and created a comprehensive strategic plan designed to help end food insecurity through modernizing the regional food system, building a smarter, more connected food system, and bolstering nutrition education, among other strategies.
The Office of Food Equity will lead the County’s share of the work to implement the strategic plan, including everything from updating zoning policies to encourage urban farming, to better supporting local food entrepreneurs, to preventing food waste, to improving access to nutrition assistance programs. Importantly, the Office of Food Equity will work hand in hand with philanthropy and local nonprofits working outside county government on the larger effort to end hunger.
“The crisis of food insecurity in LA County is worsening, which is why we must now fulfill our commitment to address this critical issue for all Angelenos,” said Cinny Kennard, Executive Director of the Annenberg Foundation and Co-Chair of the LA County Food Equity Roundtable. “I’m proud to be working cross-collaboratively with the California Community Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, the hardworking CBO’s in trenches of the food issue every day and our committed County Board of Supervisors to implement a roadmap to solve this problem. This motion approved by the Board of Supervisors will ensure the new office of Food Equity is staffed and supported so that we can together begin to work to get all people the much needed quality, affordable, and healthy food.”
With the unanimous passage of today’s motion, the County’s Chief Executive Office will report back to the board in 90 days regarding the new office’s structure, a staffing plan, as well as a public-private cost sharing budget.