Dutchess County’s Food Security Council Meets

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County’s first Food Security Council, established by Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino, held its inaugural meeting this past Thursday, May 16. Serino first announced the creation of the Council at her State of the County Address in March.

“There are a record number of individuals seeking resources from the over 65 food pantries in Dutchess County, and that number has only increased after the pandemic,” said Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino. “This is an issue that is affecting people of all walks of life. By bringing the right people to the table, the Food Security Council can provide guidance to policy makers on how to best address hunger, and we can strive to improve access to healthy, locally grown food for all of our neighbors.”

The Dutchess County Food Security Council was first proposed by Dutchess Outreach Executive Director Renee Fillette-Miccio in response to the increasing number of individuals and families relying on the food pantry week after week.

“According to Feeding America’s most recent report, 29,700 residents of Dutchess County are food insecure. The food budget shortfall in our community is $24,638,000. While this is not unique to Dutchess County, it’s vitally important that we work together to find solutions. The charitable food system was never intended to provide long-term food support, nor can we. Yet, here we are each week greeting more children, seniors and working people who simply cannot afford to eat even one daily meal. It’s through local innovation, effective policies and practices that we can, and will, do better,” said Renee Fillette-Miccio, PhD.

The goals of the Food Security Council include:
* Understanding and measuring food insecurity in Dutchess County and the root causes, scale of the problem, and barriers to progress;
* Reducing food waste in Dutchess County;
* Maximizing food procurement opportunities; and
* Suggesting policies for Dutchess County to effectively reduce food insecurity.

Members of the Inaugural Food Security Council and their respective industries include:
* Renee Fillette-Miccio, PhD, Dutchess Outreach
* Melissa Clark, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region
* Sabrina Marzouka, Commissioner of Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services
* Theresa Giovanniello, Deputy Commissioner of Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services
* Eoin Wrafter, Commissioner of Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development
* Ally Smith, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health
* Nimesh Bhargava, Dutchess County Office for the Aging
* Gibson Durnford, Ten Mile Farm
* Dennis Macheska, Vassar College
* Barbara Citarella, Public Healthcare Consultant
* Christine Sergent, North East Community Center
* Dutchess County Executive’s Office

Industries represented include philanthropy, food purchasing assistance, nutrition, farming, education, health, and government.

Serino continued, “I am so grateful to Renee Fillette-Miccio for her advocacy in creating the Food Security Council. I look forward to hearing their feedback on how we can improve this critical issue facing neighbors all across Dutchess County.”

Individuals looking for more information, or to learn how they can get involved with the Food Security Council, should call the Dutchess County Executive’s Office at 845-486-2000 or email CountyExec@dutchessny.gov.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email