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CAFE Meeting 02/08/23

Coalition Meeting Notes

At February's CAFE meeting, we met to discuss the policy work Food Policy Action Council (FPAC) is currently doing. Elisa Muñoz Miller spoke at length on those efforts.

CAFE Meeting Transcription

Elisa Munoz: Got it. I see some familiar faces in names, so that's really fun. Yeah. My name as Pepper said is Elisa Munoz. I'm the Executive Director of the New Orleans Food Policy Action Council. We are a broad-based, I'm going to give you like the elevator pitch. We're a broad-based group of organizations, businesses, and individuals who are working to create a more equitable New Orleans or, yeah, New Orleans food system through sound food policy. I don't think I got that exactly right. But that's basically it. So, we work on big P policy, so like legislative policy and then what we call little P policy, which is just like systems change. So, the policies that maybe aren't the laws but do in fact govern the way we eat and operate, if you will. And we do that through policy advocacy and some programming. So, Pepper just said to talk about policy and I could do that forever and ever. But I thought I'd talk about some of the policies that we have worked on in Louisiana specifically just give like the breadth of what food policy can look like at a local, regional, and state level. And Pepper, or anyone please jump in with questions. I can just get going and also keep me on check with time. You know how I am Pepper. So, at a local level, what we're doing is pretty specific. In New Orleans, we are work, we have working groups and we have four al always evergreen working groups and two ad hoc working groups. And so, these working groups, some of them have existed for a long time and every few years we look and assess the policy needs and food system needs in the area to see which working groups maybe we should. Like where we should add more groups or where we maybe don't need a group. But right now, we have food business develop. Which is working on some policy advocacy in areas of equitable permitting and licensing specifically. Because that can be really messy, and I'm sure you all run into this as well with farming or any sort of food business or starting a kitchen or any of that. There are city laws, there's state laws, there's licensing, there's taxes, all of that. So, we're working on. Really making sure that process is equitable so that, for instance, if a new chef or someone who had a job at a restaurant in the pre pandemic and now no longer does, they can start a food business and maybe do a popup at a brewery. or at some other community event and not have to pay. And this is actual for seven different permits and up to $1,400 to do it one time. So that's what we're mostly working on in our food business. Development in food production. We are working on our Greener New Orleans campaign, and that's really a campaign to. Advocate for urban agriculture and agriculture in general to be seen not as like an add-on or as a, if there's a little bit of land, why not? But as something that is seen as sustainable and encouraged in New Orleans and in just a minute, I can drop that website, but I'm pretty sure it's a greener NOLA dot. In the chat and that we are doing by meeting with council members individually. We're also doing door knocking, which is like a whole thing. We're doing postcard campaigns, which are really fun. If folks are somewhere, we have a mess of postcards that we've pre-addressed to city hall, they write a note to their council member, we stamp it and mail it off. Super easy, super low barrier to entry and a great way to get people involved in policy like where they are. It's also fun because we've done it at community events where kids wrote like on postcards, and we had stickers and stuff. And that's just a good way to get policy makers we can meet with them. And in one ear out the other potentially. But if they're continuously getting postcards in the mail, in their inbox, like they're not going to forget about us anytime soon, because we're just going to keep bothering them. So that's really what we're doing with our food production. Excuse me. We have a. our food Access working group, and that is doing a lot of work. That group is interesting. It's a lot like this group where it's people who are like organizations who are working in the food system space. And so, a lot of that is these larger policy advocacy at the federal and state level. So, we're looking at the child nutrition reauthorization. Act, which fingers crossed it gets reauthorized this year because it's been 10 years, but I've had my fingers crossed for five years now on it. And the farm bill, which hopefully you all know and if not, we have a webinar that I'll link to that talk that, because the farm bill really governs like most all of the food that we eat. It's not just, it should be called the food and Farm. It is commodities, it is farming, it is farm insurance, it is all of that. It's also SNAP. So, the thing that costs the most and takes the most back and forth in the legislature is that all of SNAP comes from the farm Bill. Which is, and the emergency feeding stuff. And so, one of the things we're doing is locally, we're working on the Farm bill in New Orleans, but we're also partnering with quite a few folks to do farm bill listening sessions throughout the state. So, you may or may not have had one in your region. We've had two so far. We've had a southeast Louisiana. And we've had a central Louisiana one coming up. I don't have the dates in my head, but I can find them in front of me. We have one in the Lafayette Acadian region, and we have one in the Shreveport region. And then we are going to have one in the Baton Rouge area in late spring, early summer. I. And so those are really to get the voices of we're, focusing on farmers in those, but we're also hearing from food system advocates, if you will, about what their needs are in the farm Bill. Because it is huge, and it is daunting. And we want to be able to advocate for Louisiana's best interests in the Farm Bill? Yes. Pepper, it looks like you have a question.

Pepper Roussel: that I do. You talking about all these things that you're working on, does that mean that you are writing legislation that you're just talking to folks and saying you want them to write it, that you're changing the rules? What does working in policy mean?

Elisa Munoz: That's a great question. Pepper, it means all of that potentially. Paul's like working in policy means every, everything from. Like showing up to council meetings, if there's anything that's like even tangentially related to food or, poverty reduction, which we all know is related to food systems. And making public comment to going directly to local or state policy makers and asking for something. So, for instance, we had our grow the good. And that was a campaign that we asked for $890,000 in the state legislature took in the budget for SNAP match at farmer's markets. And so, what that meant was going and asking for it, introducing a bill. And while I can't write legislation, I can certainly draft legislation that can be potentially used. I'll say that. So I do a lot of looking at what other states are doing, what other areas are doing, and putting it into the they have whereas Louisiana has one of the highest farmer numbers whereas, all these facts and then you do therefore be it resolved that the state of Louisiana wants to whatever. I do a lot of writing those, whereas, and therefore and going back and forth with policymakers, legal teams to help them. Really what I do is figure out how can we get this thing either changed or passed and then plugging in where I. So maybe that is asking our city council to do a study on something. We did one where there were too many dollar stores in an area and they don't, didn't have fresh food. So, we said, Hey a lot, some areas have done moratoriums on this and they've done minimum shelf space. We can help you write some of that, or we can show you what other places have done. And we did that and helped them and then went before committee members and things like that. And then at the end that we pulled a bunch of advocates together to support it. Yeah. And then yes, please.

Pepper Roussel: So, when we talk about, you pulled a bunch of advocates together to support it. Yes. Does that what does that look like? Does that mean that you're just having people come with you to city council or you're having them come to the meeting with the lawmaker? How does that work and how can we replicate that?

Elisa Munoz: Yes. I'm glad you asked that because it makes it sound like I just am like bringing a van into neighborhoods and like asking people to get in and come meet a city hall. And while I've never done that, it's not, I'm just kidding. I am looking, I see that there's something in the chat, so if we can just put a pin in that or you can help me remember to go back to that Pepper. Yeah, so I'll say that you have to make sure that all policy is done with community or with other people. I'm not a farmer, I'm not a food business entrepreneur. And so, I could be like it would be really cool if like you did farms in the beds of trucks and I could go and try to get a policy made. And that's not a good community led policy. And so that's why we have our working groups. These are full of experts and people doing the work, and we are constantly asking, what do you need? How can we help? What are the problems that you're running into? What are your barriers? And that's what a lot of our listening sessions for the Farm Bill are and other. Ways we collect data, whether it's surveys, whether it's public meetings, whether it's our working groups. And so, I will bring folks to council meetings with me. I've done that where you bring 'them. I even show 'them how to fill out the card at the council meeting. What's the color card? Here's how you do it. I'll walk the cards up there. We will have people put public comments and show like, here's what you do for public comment. We have on our one-on-one meetings, especially now with farmers, we're bringing, or with council members, we're bringing farmers with us to those meetings at city Hall. And those are not with the full council, but just one-on-ones and we're actually organizing, I'm super excited. We're in the very early stages of organizing a DC fly-in for farmers in Louisiana to take 'them to DC to advocate slash lobby for the farm. And those are, these are usually people that are in our network in some way. They're either part of our working groups or they're folks that we have reached out to for other things. We, I never try to go to a policymaker all by myself with just my own ideas because my ideas aren't good on their own. And I need help.

Pepper Roussel: They're fine. They're fine. They're all fine. They're all fine. But you did say something before we go to this question in the chat you said something that made my ears perk up. You said advocate slash lobby?

Elisa MunozYes, I was hoping you would catch that because that is something that profits that we, the IRS has. The pants office about lobbying versus advocacy. And there is a fine line and I'll find one of my like documents that explains it better and I'll get it to you. Pepper for notes or for dissemination, but basically advocacy. Anybody can do. If you are a 501 c3. If you are, you can advocate and what that means is really talking about the issue and how it affects you or we'll say in policy jargon, your constituents, or the people that you work with. So, if there is something going up for, so if Grow the Good was going up for a vote. and you wanted to advocate? You could say there's a farmer's market in my area. We also have a lot of SNAP recipients in my area. It would be great if we could support farmers and support SNAP recipients. In, in, in one fell swoop, if you will. That's advocacy. If you go and you say, hey, I need you to vote yes on HB one, the portion that funds grow the good, vote yes to that, or vote no, that's lobbying because you were asking for a specific action for a specific bill. But if you're asking an issue based with just information or how you feel, that is not lobby. And I also want to say that even if you are a 501 and I'm not a lawyer, so don't take this as gospel. Don't sue me. But the IRS said you can lobby if all other things be equal, you can lobby. It just can't be a majority of what you do. So, you can go to a lawmaker and say that if you're only doing it a little bit, and it's not like the thing you're doing all the time, so many nonprofits are nervous about this, so they don't do any policy work. But the only way that we as advocates are going to be able to move our programmatic work into something sustainable is to get involved with policy. And so learning what that fine line is and that's actually something that FEX has been talking about doing a webinar on. So maybe you can help me remember that as well, pepper, that we can do that is like understanding where you can go and how far you can walk up to the line or where the line is I think is really important for those of us who are really trying to make community change. And now should we get to the question then? Yes. The question in the chat. Long-term advisory committees that are formed to. Continue to advise during implementation and assessment, the new policy? Yes. So when PPAC was first formed, we were formed like pretty immediately post-Katrina just to get healthy food retail back into New Orleans. And so we did that and we, got things passed and all was great and then disbanded and then we came back for healthy school food. But in that disbanding time like some other healthy retail stuff happened and we weren't active in that. So it's really important, especially because a lot of people assume that the policy activity is over once the bill has passed. it is not, there's still implementation. So usually they go through three things. They go through passing the bill, funding the bill. So, if you just leave it at passing and it's not funded, that doesn't mean anything. An unfunded bill is just words on a paper. So then you got to get the money behind it, and then you have to get the implementation and the implementation. I'll use Farm Bill as an example. So, if we say that we want, I'm thinking of the last farm bill more money for like hemp production. Okay, great. That's in there. Or more support. Great. That's in there. Fantastic. Then it gets funded, so it has to go through appropriations, bunch of money or a little bit or a lot of money is appropriated to it. Then it has to go through, I can't remember what the implementation phase is called. I'm like having a total blank. It's some sort of jargony term I'll remember in a. But that's where they say, okay, we have this bill. We have these laws and we have this money. Now what's the timeline on it? Who's going to do it? How are we going to make sure it's community driven? And it's not just okay Mr. Bob, big hemp over here will get all the money. What a weird name. But you know what I'm saying? That's when, it really has to do with like how it's implemented and some things, it takes the whole of the Farm Bill to get it. We're at the end of the Farm Bill and we're just now getting some stuff done. So, you have to stay on it once it's signed. It. That's really when like the hard work begins of like constantly making sure it's done in an equitable way, that the money's being spent justly and that it's not just checking it off on a piece of paper, if you will. Did that answer the question?

Pepper Roussel: You did, but I've got to follow up. Do you go back to the same lawmaker who wrote it for you, or do you now have to go to folks who weren't even involved in it in order to make sure that the money is going where it needs to go, that we're not just funding the same stuff all the time?

Elisa Munoz: It depends. Because a lot of times the lawmaker gets it passed and then it moves over to whoever is implementing it. So, for instance, if SNAP is one thing that a lot of folks are advocating for is to keep some of the covid changes to SNAP. So, say that passes in the Farm Bill. Then the next step it goes from that to the U S D A, and then it goes to f n s and then it goes to your state. For us it's D C F S department of Children and Family Services. So, it's really figuring out who actually implements the program. Is who you need to go to next, and if it's, you can go to them. What I think of it as is if you're working with a corporation, the boss is we're doing this. The boss isn't usually the person who does it. They're the person who says, we're doing this, so Okay, who's actually doing it? You talk to them, and you like, they're the ones who are actually like turning the gears and levers. But if it's not working, you can go back up to the boss and be like, hey, you did this. It's not working out. So you just have to another thing about policy, the first step in our policy work always is research. You have to research the hell out of whatever it is you want to change. Like calling your council member to say, we need an increase in WIC. Not going to do you much good because they're not in charge of that. You have to know who to talk to about what and where the levers are. So, we look and see who's in charge of it, what changes have been made, how can we help to like how can we help them? Where has it worked out in other places? Like tons and tons of research goes into any sort of policy change before we even get it to the table.

Pepper Roussel: So we've talked about city council people, we've talked about legislators, and then you just brought up these agencies. So DCFS USDAFS. Is that still policy work or…

Elisa Munoz: Oh, yes it is. Thank you for asking. Yeah, that's where really the changes get that, and I would even say that's still big p policy work because that's the implementation of these policies that you have. It's getting it from the books into action. And so, we can get you can get all the policies you want on the books that don't do anything, but if you actually want to make systemic change, you have to keep going and, keep at it. And policy change really can be. Other places that are policy change, that may not be big P policy but are super important is like institutional food. So, the food that's being served at hospitals, food that's being served at prisons, food that's being served at like city and county buildings, that's all policy work and that has a huge impact on people. And, let's see. I'm trying to think of other, like policy things school food, major policy thing after school feeding. Also, major policy. Something that we, another one of our new working groups is disaster and climate change. I can't remember exactly what we're calling it. It's a fancier name than that. But basically it's disaster and climate change of looking at like disaster planning, the emergency food, all of those systems and how we can make sure they make sense. And because I, y'all know Disasters are just how we're operating these days. And so many people right now are using the emergency food system as their usual food system because we're failing them in so many different ways that think that are there ways that we can be proactive in disaster and climate as opposed to just like everybody freaking out, calling together a bunch of committees and. Having 15 food pantries in a day, which are fine, but are there ways where we can be really thinking about the systems change so that we're better prepared? That was a bit of a tangent. Sorry.

Pepper Roussel: No, I listen. I'm all about the systems level changes but I do want to step back a little bit and give some space for the co-chairs to step in and to ask whatever questions that they might have or share any information that, or experiences that they may have had in the space. And then transitioning to practitioners and allowing their voices to be heard. So, if y'all have any questions while we are in this transition moment, please drop 'them in the. Will raise your virtual hand.

Jan Ross: I will raise my virtual hand with my voice, Alyssa. Hi, this is Jan Ross. Thank you very much for giving us this information and I have. Made in my notes plus a few asterisks. This is a good topic to find somebody to make a full presentation on. Because I think that continual education on the differences of advocacy and policy and. Where as a nonprofit, where our boundaries are that we can exist in. So obviously you all have been doing quite a bit of work in New Orleans and yes, we're just up the road from you all, but it sometimes feels like it's miles and miles away. Where would you from what y'all's experience has been, where would you advise us to get involved when it comes to advocacy and policy?

Elisa Munoz: Ooh. That's a good question. I will say we are starting to do more statewide work, which is very exciting. There are a lot of. For us how we got started and how we continue to do it is continual kind of policy assessments to make sure that we're picking the area to work in that the community needs. So, I could tell you like some things that I think would be cool for you to work on, but I don't live in Baton Rouge, so I'm not sure of what the needs are, but some federal ones that impact every. That there's a lot of advocacy already happening on, so you can jump onto that is again, the farm bill is huge this year and it impacts, or it's huge. It expires at the end of this year. So 2023, there has to be a new farm bill by the end of the year. And so, there's a lot of work happening on that. And then I would say looking and seeing like what are. The main challenges in the area. And from there, once okay, maybe it's healthy food retail, then you can figure out, alright, so what are the policies from do we want a healthy corner store collaborative type thing? Which I think you guys might already have one of those. But it's hard to say what I think you should do because I don't know the ins and outs. And that's part of that like community led, community informed policy. So that wasn't a real answer, sorry.

Jan Ross: No, but that's helpful. But where have you had the greatest impact with the least effort?

Elisa Munoz: Oh with the least effort? I don't know.

Jan Ross: Or, maybe change it to the most engaging efforts?

Elisa Munoz: Yeah, so some low hanging fruit for us is, I'm trying to think back. We had great success with our urban agriculture work. So, we did some work where we've done it a few different phases that the easiest and fastest one that we did was allowing for like farmers to sell off farm. Or on their farm from their farm, if you will, because they weren't allowed to before. So really looking to see what are the, like really weird laws that don't make sense and see if we can change those. So, something simple like that worked really well for us as well. Our Healthy, fresh food. Oh my gosh, what is it called? Small box retailer study. So just saying if we want more grocery stores in, there is study science that shows if a dollar store or a small box retailer, Dollar General or Family Dollar comes in a grocery store's not going to. So are there areas where they're proliferating and you don't have a grocery store and we don't want to take, another thing we think about a lot is do no harm. So, if we just say, no more dollar stores, but we also don't have a grocery store in the area, then we're just leaving people high and dry, if you will. So, then we started thinking like what about minimum shelf? So, you can come in there, but you have to have minimum shelf space for fresh and frozen food. We also defined what fresh and frozen food is so that they can't put like pizza and be like it's got tomato sauce. Those are pretty it's, hard. It's very localized to what your local government is behind. But I would see what are your policy makers into, is there someone who's really into business development and business help? If that's the case, I have a feeling that you’re permitting and licensing for food businesses is also a hot mess. And if that's the case can, that be the thing you work on with this champion? So, if you want a quick win, looking to see what your policy makers are. Is a really good way, because then you have a champion who will push it forward.

Jan Ross: Interesting. Thanks for sharing that. Caitlin or Emily, did y'all have anything else that y'all would want to ask?

Caitlyn Scales: I just had, one question first. It's good to see you again. Would love to catch up at on that at some point. But one question, so something that we run into a lot with feeding kids and the relationship between the Department of Education and the Department of Health are regulatory. Operational process changes rather than policy changes. And so Emily and I and others have definitely tapped into the world of trying to drive those regulatory issues up a, some form of communication chain with advocates and people who we would, with similar stakeholders that we would go to for a policy change. To see about removing some of those regulations or modifying them. What's your experience and the difference of working in advocacy around regulation changes versus policy change if any?

Elisa Munoz: So that is a policy change, I think. Not to get too nuanced on words, but those, the regulations are policy, I think you're thinking of laws like the difference between like law making and policy making.

Caitlyn Scales: So maybe it's a, maybe it's a rule that's not in the policy that was passed, but they're implementing as if it were policy.

Elisa Munoz: Exactly. And so that's still a policy change because it's okay. Cause of what the policy. It's like what's happening? It's the implementation part of it. And that's actually where we've done a lot of work. So, like our, work in sometimes what we're having changed is not a law. What we're having changed is code. Yeah, okay. Like we've worked a lot on having code changed and what we've done with that is again, just so much research on here's the issue, here's why it's not working. Here's the simple way you could fix it. Say it simple, even though we all know it's not, the or the easy way could be easy, but not simple to fix it. And that's all still policy work because that's how that policy that you got passed or that law that you got passed is working its way down. And so really, it's just like, laying it out. We go line by line sometimes. Section five line six says this, here's why this doesn't make sense. Here's what we think that you could do better. Here's other areas that are doing it. If it's going to cost them money, it's going to be trickier. Yeah, anything that costs money. It's just harder. Yeah. And, for things that are going to cost money, you have to like, talk. You can't just not talk about it. You have to say yes, this might cost money in the short term, but we know in the long term it will blah, blah, blah. Because if you just pretend like the money part doesn't exist, they're going to be like, those hippies have no idea what we're doing. And the fact is like we do know what they're doing. And so, I think a lot of people are like, we just don't mention the money. It won't be a big deal. I'm like, they're always thinking about the money. So just go in knowing that, yeah.

Okay. Thank you. I think that I had thought about it as like a trigger point that would go one direction or the other from implementation to policy, but it is how it's being. Interpreted in practice. Okay. Yep. Thank you. Sure. And that was my big question.

Caitlyn Scales: It was great to hear these distinctions and I'm seeing in the chat too some of the resources that Chelsea had identified which is great. So, I'm excited to, to tap into that as well.

Elisa Munoz: Oh, you guys have a healthy corner store or healthy dollar store thing. I would love to talk more about that. Sorry, I'm reading the chat too.

Chelsea Morgan: Yeah. I'm going to put it out there while we're on the topic. Kelly, can we bring you into conversations of the revitalization of that for New Orleans?

Kelli Rogers: The Healthy Corner Store Initiative has only been marginally successful, I would say, in Baton Rouge for a lot of geographical, and stay with New Orleans. We've tried twice and it's still operational in some corner stores, but we're still working on it.

Elisa Munoz: Yeah, we're trying to do a SNAP match in our corner stores and having a hard time with that, even though we're like half-off of produce. So, some of it just comes down to we can pass all these things, but if the stores are like, this doesn't do me anything, any good, or if there's not marketing behind it or all of that, like that again comes down to that implementation and funding. That's often the most important part of it. Yeah, you get it passed. Great. If there's no money for implementation, for instance, a lot of times lawmakers are like, great, I really want to do this, but I want 98% of the money to go to program costs only, or recipient costs only. And you're like, that gives me $5 to operate this program. So really thinking about what you need and not just like selling yourself to whatever they say is the best way. Because it may feel like a win. But a policy that either can't be implemented or is implemented poorly because of the way it's written is not a win. It's just not. Then the next time you want to try it again. It's, you're already behind. If that makes sense. And that's something, that's things that we have found out where we're like, great, we have it. It's, in the books. There's no money, but okay. And then nothing happens. Now I'm just on a tangent now I'm just talking.

Caitlyn Scales: I like Helena's question. I don't know if that's something you would want to take a stab at fielding.

Elisa Munoz: The only way that I know to get it is to just put money into the grant, like you just have to be thinking about it on the front side of it and make sure that it's written into there and then pulling them in or co-writing something. But I'm coming at it from a total nonprofit, industrial, complex brain, if I'm being honest. I'm fine to be challenged on that. But really like you, you have to be thinking about that on the front end or figuring out how you can shift. And the other thing, if you didn't put in the front end, maybe talk to them to see like, What of their campaigns or what of the things that they are funded to do fit with this so that you can then, like if they have local food money, great. We have this whole local food thing we're doing, why would you want to recreate something when we've got something you can market? I found that works as well. But some funding for local food stuff is what is it? Local food promotion program. Through the USDA, but I will say if you get into USDA stuff, it's re, it can be tricky with policy. So, call me before you make a USDA grant that you want to be the direct recipient of and I'll talk you out of it. Be a sub. Casey? Yeah, go ahead.

Casey Phillips: Sorry, on my phone was limited. Thank y'all. I wanted to just see while we have, first of all, wow, you're a powerful human. Thank you for sharing everything that you know, and I'm sorry, just in this particular side of it. So, thank you so much for sharing this space. I also wanted to see if Mike had his ears on and wanted to add his voice to this conversation because Mike's not only doing stuff locally and statewide, but also on a national level, and I wanted to see if he had anything that he would like to add with his experience around policy work.

Mike Manning: Feeding America does a lot of policy work, especially on the Farm Bill. So, we have a great representation and it, in effect, brings national power to that discussion. But we're also doing some, trying to do some things at the uh, state level. With Feeding Louisiana. So, we've got our group there. We have a firm that we work with to help with that. We're really engaged in that and we're looking for the specific things we can do to take advantage of that. Working with LDAF and DCFS and others throughout the state to put together as many alliances as we can to get things.

Casey Phillips: There you go. Anything that you any big wins around on the horizon or behind you that you want to talk about? You don't strike me as someone that's going to talk about a win that hasn't happened yet, but anything that you've seen that's the needles moved lately that with feeding Louisiana and, LDF, that would that would be of interest to the group.

Mike Manning: I would say there's some encouraging things, but I'd like to keep my powder dry beyond that. I can hear it in the tone in your voice.

Casey Phillips: Appreciate you, Mike. Come back and report anytime and we'll throw the ticker taker parade for the win. Alright. Thank back to you Pepper. Yeah Casey, and Mike, I'll just go ahead and jump in.

Caitlin Sheehan: Mike, it's Caitlin with Louisiana and the Director of Resource Development and new to the organization as of November. So, I'm still playing a bit of catch up with getting to know the landscape of food insecurity throughout Louisiana. Did want to share some exciting news that we brought on a staff member for, to work on policy initiatives and his first day will be next Monday. So good things coming up on the horizon.

Mike Manning: I'm glad to hear, I think I can say anything about that yet.

Caitlin Sheehan: Brand new. Brand new and very exciting. He'll be joining in on these calls as soon as he gets, himself onboarded.

Elisa Munoz: I have to jump off in just a moment. I'm so sorry. Does anybody have any other questions for me?

Pepper Roussel: That is exactly the thing that I was coming off mute to say. Thank you very much for staying as long as you have, we have taken more time than we had expected and I really appreciate you doing this for us, Alyssa. If you don't mind putting your email in the chat for those who might want to reach out to you and appreciate it, and that means that next up we will have updates from cafe organizations. Yes, we're my co-chairs. Where are our co-chairs? Do we have updates? Hey y'all, do we have any updates? And don't just say something to keep me from singing.

Caitlyn Scales: I'm, happy to share a quick update about three o'clock project that includes partners on the call, which I think is like a great proof of concept here with the coalition. If you would, if you'd be interested in that briefly. So we are moving forward with the Food Hub storage idea with Geaux Get Healthy and Top Box and YMCA. So that is something that has been in the works for a long time. And we're going to have a. Likely not long-term space, but as long as we need to make it great at one of the Y sites. And so, we're thankful for those partnerships and the collaborative funding opportunities and we are ready to get in there soon. So that's exciting. And thank you to all of the partners on the call. They're involved in that. And then also we are on the cusp of being able to share some bigger advocacy work in the theme of this call that we have been working on with some entities in the Baton Rouge area. And so in the next month or so, we look forward to reaching out and hope that some of the efforts that we're working on, there can be stuff that you all can champion and share about once we're able to talk about it a little bit more openly. So just that's in the wings. And Emily Chatelain, I don't know if you've anything else to add to that?

Emily Chatelain: Yeah, we're, gearing up for summer on our end. So, we are continuing our awesome partnership with YMCA and we're doing a full summer meal feeding at all of their sites this summer. So, we're they invested in some equipment? We're adding some equipment to make sure that all of the kids will have access to daily hot, healthy, fresh food. So that's exciting. And then I'm dropping a link here. I just wanted to lift this up to the group. A lot of changes were passed in Congress on that December 9th sorry, December 29th, the consolidated appropriations. They're not, I'm not really seeing them being talked about in any of my channels, but they're pretty important. Share Our Strength or No Kid Hungry did a good summary of what got passed. And two things: pandemic, EBT is going to be available for the summer for states that ask for it, right? So, you have to submit a plan. For it. And that is right, kids who are enrolled as a free or reduced student in a school on that is in national school lunch program. Those families will get an EBT card for the summer $120 max to spend on food over the summer months, and their kids are out of school. The other thing that's huge that passed is that non congregate summer. Are an option for rural areas that don't have congregate sites. So, this is always an issue in every rural area, right? Where there's just not a lot of summer feeding sites. Now if somebody right steps up and they can offer meals to go or parents can pick up. And bring them home. Whereas in the past kids had to physically eat the meal at the event or the camp or the thing. But again, states have to want to do it and submit a plan to USDA by April 1st. I have asked our state if we are intending to do it. I've gotten a response. So, I think the more advocates we have that are reaching out to LDOE to say, Hey. We heard about this wonderful thing that the feds passed, it's federal dollars. Are we going to do it? What is our plan for both of those? So again, the link is there. If you're interested in reaching out to the state, sending a quick email let me know and I'll give you those contacts at LDOE. I'll even write the email for you. Because again, I'm just not seeing anybody ask about it, so I don't want LDOE to pass up on the opportunity. So, I thought this was a good group to lift up.

Helena Williams: All right. Thank you so much Emily, and it's a great example of something that we're starting to look for in the coalition, and I'm going to talk a little bit about it in this last 10 minutes of going over the action items that I want you all to take away from today's meeting. So one of the things is exactly that of a practitioner update. We're not going to talk them out loud every meeting, but we want to start gathering what everyone is doing in the coalition so that as we. Us and the co-chairs are looking at everything from a holistic sense that we can start plugging in ideas and creating more action-oriented work groups so that we can collate on the topic. So, I'm going to put that in the chat now that form, but I also, I'm just going to share my screen to guide you around the website to see how to get to things like that. I am on the one website and under coalitions. Click Cafe Coalitions, and that's where you can see a lot of the updates, including when the next meeting is and every all, of that. But what I'm pulling up here is share an update and if you want to see everybody's updates in real time, you can see them here. I spoke with Chris who wasn't able to make today's meeting, but he did share an update of some things that he is working on. and in this form you can opt into talking about To wanting to talk about at the coalition meeting so that we can prepare you for just like how we have Elisa present, talk about what's happening. And we can also look at funders, what they're doing and the policy workers, again, to tie everything together. It's not going to be every meeting, but we want to create this opportunity to really create synergy between these three really powerful. Sections of work and keep them all connected. And if you remember, just to go back to the way one ridge works is that it's like an a ameba of many different groups, but as we are able to learn from each other and represent these little bubbles, able to ebb and flow between the different coalitions. And so that's why when I was hearing things about businesses, I was thinking about our education to career coalition who works with Barack, who is definitely working with businesses and can, if we bring them into conversations like this, that might create an opportunity to connect holistically the grocery store operators and needing to create more equitable eating access. And the same thing, although we don't have marketing included. That's been something I've been hearing time and again, that people are wanting more. We just need to promote our, opportunities more. We just need more education on what's happening. With food access and how to cook food and, all that stuff. And so that makes me think about maybe there's another bucket of work that includes marketing and that's where we can talk to Ad Fed who sometimes donates work or also in, in kind and also sponsors things. So, I think that there's a way we can tie all these things together, but it's going to be hard for us to conceptualize that if we don't get updates from everyone. So, I really encourage you to send your updates of what's happening, what's, what are you doing today, what are you doing next week? And ask things like, what are the hurdles you're coming into so that we can start thinking about all of that. Additionally, it's on the agenda but we have some additional other action items. As we are starting to think about these working groups, we really want to have these working group leads. And in here has the r roles and responsibilities of what it is to be a working group lead. It's really someone who's action oriented, very driven, and passionate about this food equity work, as well as is able to bring A plan together and keep everyone engaged so that when we do break up into these working groups, we have someone who is leading the charge. But collective impact is also coming together where everyone at the table in those working groups is able to provide responses, opportunities, and we design these moments where we're able to engage in food equity work. While at the same time building those long-standing structure policy works and things like that. Additionally, we are also continually on the lookout for a community engagement specialist. So, you'll see that here and I'll include that in the notes post-meeting notes as well. That is somebody who is, who works in the communities that we are serving, who knows a lot of people and who's also able to not just. Information for the coalition so that we respond to what's actually needed, but also to. opportunities that are happening in the areas that they are living so that people know when a food share is happening or anything else that's happening that may not have the marketing legs yet so that we can make sure that there is this interchange of resources. And this is the practitioner update form that I just talked to you about. And also, we want to know about your events and so that we can list them on our calendar which is also accessible through the website. So, all you have to do. Click this Talkify event and asks you a couple questions and it'll come to me and I will review it, add it to the calendar, and then that way as everybody starts adding their food share events or drives or anything like that, you're able to see who's doing what when, and that might prompt you to reach out to a coalition member who's doing something similar on the same day, and they might be nearby enough that where you say maybe if we just shift to one location, we can amplify together rather than competing interests and really impact this collective impact work. So I've been trying to bring all that quickly together since we just had a few minutes. So I want to breathe and allow for any questions or comments or anything like,

Kelli Rogers: Could I have just a few minutes for a little go get healthy update? Is that okay? So, Caitlin mentioned briefly the food hub work that we're working on with YMCA. And Christian's on if you have anything else you want to add about that. It is something that's been in the works for a while. It was a project that, go get healthy was funded for through Humana Foundation last year that we were hoping to have wrapped up by the end of the year, but we're pushing it out a little bit. It'll be Top Box foods, Three o'clock project. One site at the Pennington YMCA and Geaux Get Healthy is, yeah. Very excited about that. Thank you. Geaux Get Healthy is funding the space for a year and the equipment that'll be there. So, we'll have a 20 foot refrigerated storage unit that will allow top box a much better ability to distribute in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities. And we're very excited to be working with Three O'clock Project on the work that they're doing. They'll have space there as well. And then also Baton Rouge Garden Alliance is the project that we're working on with Baton Rouge Community Farm. That's a community-wide community gardening project. So, bring in all of the community gardens that are existing in Baton Rouge together under one umbrella as much as we can, starting with the ones that Baton Roots is working on. And some other Gardens in Old South Baton Rouge that Stephanie Elwood and Sarah Becker at LSU were working on and some other opportunities that are coming up with Southern Ag. So that is garden is the website if you are interested in that work. And then I guess really quickly, our community wellness is the third piece that we're working on in clinics and community organizations. And that's where we work with the Dollar General fresh Food Initiative through the city as well. So that's all I have. Thank you.

Helena Williams: Awesome. We are at time. Casey, would you like to close us out, Jan or Caitlin? I don't want to steal anyone's thunder, but thank you so much for attending today. Yes. Anybody else wants to say anything?

Casey Phillips: That said, but I want to make sure and give space for Jan, Caitlin and Emily in Pepper and but the only thing I want to make sure and say is folks, it finally feels like the moment of singularity. And we're out the gates and cafe. This felt like the first real Cafe meeting, and I feel like we've taken root after all this planning and all the work, so I just want to, I want to make sure and say thank you. Not all to just be in at the space today, but for all the years of building this together and contributing. Patience, the support Chelsea Morgan helping lead the work groups and Mike can keep coming back and I don't want to leave anybody out. Everybody that's on the call. Thank y'all for the trust and the continued support to get us where we are all together. And I'll turn it over to the co-chairs and Pepper to close us out.

Jan Ross: Perfect way to close this out. Casey, keep us engaged, keep us excited about the work because we all know that it is very important work and many, in the community rely on us. Caitlin, Emily Pepper, or Helen, do you want to take it over?

Helena Williams: I think we're all done. Thank you all. We'll be sending out the notes in 48 hours and hope to see you guys again around this time in March, and you should all have that in invite. If you don't, I will be sending it in about two weeks from that date. So, thank you all again and have a great day.


Helpful Advocacy Videos:



Caitlin Sheehan

Caitlyn Scales

Caleb Wells

Carl Motsenbocker

Casey Phillips

Charry Lackey

Chef James Porter

Chelsea Morgan

Chiquita Briley

Christian Engle - YMCA of the Capital Area

Edy Addison-CAUW

Elisa Munoz

Emily Chatelain

Farmer Jones

Fran Harvey

Helena Williams

Ifeyinwa Davis

Interfaith Federation GBR

Jan Ross - Wilson Foundation

Jordyn Barlow

Katrina Ward

Kelli Rogers

Mike Manning

Nadine Mann -Louisiana

Nicole Fitzgerald

Pepper Roussel - One Rouge

Sherreta Harrison

Simbrey Majors - CPEX

SK Groll

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