The mayor’s Climate Action Task Force Subcommittee on Water, Land Use and Food Security was tasked with making recommendations about how to mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security in the city of Santa Fe. Food security exists when all people have access to safe, nutritious food by being able to physically get it by going to the store or by growing it—and by being able to afford it.
As climate change increasingly continues to impact our region and other regions, including California, we will see its effects on the availability of natural resources such as water, soil and farmland. Natural disasters like drought, wildfires and floods are likely to increase. This means that food will become more expensive for those of us who purchase it.
Our food system—the way we grow, process and ship it—contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change. The trucks that take food to market, and the cars we use to drive to the nearest grocery store emit greenhouse gases. It became apparent that we needed to come up with a list of recommendations that focused on cutting greenhouse gases in our food system in the interest of building a stronger local food system for our community that protects those most vulnerable to hunger and food insecurity.
The subcommittee, chaired by County Commissioner Kathleen Holian, based its recommendations on the Santa Fe City & County Advisory Council’s 2014 “Planning for Santa Fe Food Future: Querencia, A Story of Food, Farming and Friends.” The food plan lays out a list of actionable goals to make it easier for folks to learn about food, get access to healthy food and grow food. With a group of city, county and nonprofit partners, we looked at how the goals could help alleviate our impact on climate change. The subcommittee then produced six recommendations, which range from short- to long-term goals:
1. Support creation of a permanent Southside Farmers’ Market
2. Create a joint-use agreement between the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe Public Schools
3. Remap and/or create new transportation routes to increase ease of access to fresh, healthy and/or local food outlets
4. Create capacity to coordinate food, agriculture, nutrition and other food-related initiatives
5. Create a Sustainable Zoning Task Force to examine and update existing building codes and zoning
6. Update the city’s General Plan with recommendations from the Sustainable Zoning Task Force
These recommendations are the product of cooperation and collaboration among city officials, county officials and regional nonprofits who recognize that we all must work together to curb the impacts of climate change at the local, regional and statewide levels. These recommendations can be found in full, along with explanations, on the Santa Fe Food Policy Council’s website: www.santafefoodpolicy.org/initiatives/
Morgan Day is coordinator of the Santa Fe City & County Food Policy Council. firstname.lastname@example.org