Maryland Food System Resiliency Council

Purpose & Background

House Bill 831/Senate Bill 723 established the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council. This multiagency, collaborative effort engages experts in food resiliency across Maryland in an effort to enhance efforts to address food insecurity issues across the state.

The Maryland Food System Resiliency Council is a formally appointed body which meets regularly to address issues of food resilience. These meetings are open to the public and all meeting announcements, along with instructions for accessing the meetings virtually, are below. Inquiries about the workgroup should be directed to jesse.delph@maryland.gov.

Background of the Issue

Food security means all individuals, at all times, have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet dietary needs for normal growth and a productive and healthy life. In order for a household to be considered food secure, food must be available, accessible, and each individual in the household must be able to reliably utilize the food they obtain. Food insecurity is a global, national, and local issue. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 35.2 million individuals lived in food-insecure households and, of these, households with children had a substantially higher rate of food insecurity than those without. Food insecurity is a socially-rooted and systemic issue and has only increased in prevalence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting approximately 23% of U.S. households in 2020.

Food insecurity is a complex issue with no single cause, but crises, shocks, and stressors- both natural and human-made- have the potential to exacerbate insecurity and cause considerable short- and long-term damage to our global, national, and local food systems. A resilient food system is able to withstand and recover from disruptions to the supply chain in a way that empowers communities and ensures sufficient and sustainable supply of acceptable and accessible food for all.

Goals

The goals of the Council include:

  1. Coordinating state and local level food insecurity services to support residents of the state.
  2. Tracking and analyzing data to create a comprehensive map of food insecurity across the state and identify gaps in service.
  3. Leveraging federal and private sector grants and other resources in order to address food insecurity needs.
  4. Advising the state on how best to allocate resources and increase efficiency.
  5. Exploring the role of and potential use for the federal community eligibility provision to ensure all students in the state are fed.
  6. Making recommendations to the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland General Assembly to implement relevant findings.

Outcomes

The Council will produce the following documents which will lay the foundation for the future of food resilience in Maryland.

November 1, 2021 - Interim Report to the Maryland General Assembly:

  • Addressing and eliminating racial inequalities in the food system
  • Addressing and eliminating diet-related public health disparities
  • Addressing and eliminating food deserts
  • Reducing food waste, increasing recycling, and encouraging other relevant environmental impacts

November 1, 2021 - A Strategic Plan that outlines ways of:

  • Increasing the quality and quantity of production, as well as aggregation, marketing, and distribution of local food in urban, suburban, and rural settings
  • Increasing procurement of local food through schools, universities, and other institutions.
  • additional market opportunities for Maryland food businesses.
  • Expanding access to small scale manufacturing and food production infrastructure

November 1, 2022 - A Report to the Maryland General Assembly recommending:

  • Appropriate policy and legislative changes
  • Potential ways to restructure the Council such as:
    • Placing the Council within a different agency or organization
    • Enacting a sunset provision for the Council
  • Any other recommendation of the Council

Additional reports annually to the Maryland General Assembly

Membership

The Council is co-chaired by the Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency Russ Strickland and a member of the Council to be voted upon during the Council’s first meeting.

In addition to the co-chairs, the council has three co-vice chairs:

  • The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
  • The Secretary of the Department of Human Services
  • Dean of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Members of the Council serve a three-year term. Representing organizations across the spectrum of food resilience, the members of the Council collaborate to achieve the goals and outcomes prescribed by law.

A full list of members will be available soon.

Upcoming Meetings

Date: June 24, 2021

Time: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Attachments:

Maryland Food System Resiliency Council Meeting Notice​ 

Maryland Food Security Resilience Council Draft Agenda​​

Past Meetings

Check back for past meeting documents ​​

​​​​​