AHI Announces Launch of Adirondack Food System Network

Apr 5, 2021

Adirondack Health Institute is pleased to announce the launch of the Adirondack Food System Network, a collaboration of multiple organizations working together as equal partners to better understand system-wide issues, identify gaps, and develop realistic solutions to help strengthen and promote a more resilient food system.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, market supply chain and trade disruptions have limited food accessibility, especially for vulnerable residents lacking access to transportation and the means to purchase fresh food. At the same time, farmers have been faced with significant disruptions in market access, especially due to the closure of restaurants, retail, and other food establishments, and the threat of the loss of market access for area farmers.

A group of Adirondack food system stakeholders across the region have come together to start the Adirondack Food System Network with seed funding from Adirondack Foundation. The Network aims to help food system stakeholders mount a coordinated effort to build back better food systems as the region recovers from the pandemic, centered on the values of collaboration, equity, environment, and lasting success.

“AHI is pleased to be serving as the backbone organization, the coordinating body that will provide support, facilitation, and guidance, for this much-needed collective impact initiative,” stated Nancy Gildersleeve, an Executive Director at Adirondack Health Institute.

“This past year, food assistance has been a big part of our COVID response grantmaking. By connecting emergency food systems with the local food system, this cross-sector network has great potential to broaden access to healthy, fresh food for residents of all ages and strengthen ties with local producers. It’s a win-win,” said Connie Prickett, Adirondack Foundation Vice President of Communications and Strategic Initiatives.

“We now have a community platform for collective action focused on food and equity. We have the opportunity to address low farmer incomes and rising food insecurity in our region simultaneously,” explained Brittany Christenson, the Executive Director of ADK Action, and Co-Chair of the program’s Steering Committee. “With this network, we can connect the dots between problems and solutions across sectors and build our food system back better.”

The vision of the Network is an Adirondack regional food system that is resilient, just, environmentally-responsible and supports improved human health. The mission is to advance innovative solutions through lasting collaboration that strengthen and improve our regional food system for individuals, the environment, and the economy. Collaboration will initially focus on connecting efforts in five areas: production, consumption, distribution, processing, and food waste management. The Network covers nine New York counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington.

For more information about the Adirondack Food System Network and to subscribe to our e-list, visit our website at https://ahihealth.org/adirondack-food-system-network/. If you would like to get involved with the initiative, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdwTXMfaHCnmGp-UHZghP3Geeed0tHMEHYusydyTin5jtD27g/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&gxids=7628.

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