21CC Supports New Report on Baltimore’s Food System

Photos of food resilience

21CC Supports New Report on Baltimore’s Food System

By Lydia Dubois and Maleka Walker

More than two years after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and ensuing unrest that rocked Baltimore City, there has been much discussion in the city and beyond about community-law enforcement relationships, educational and economic opportunity for youth, and other topics relating to the health and well-being of Baltimore and its most disadvantaged residents.

One topic that has been less discussed, but is vitally important, is Baltimore’s food resiliency and preparedness in the aftermath of natural disasters like superstorms driven by climate change and man-made disasters such as the April 2015 riots. Following the unrest, Baltimore’s food system was significantly compromised when more than 100 retail businesses that sell food were affected by the events, whether through physical damage to the buildings themselves, or through theft of personal property or inventory. About a quarter of those businesses are located in food deserts, meaning that they could have been important food sources for many residents. Furthermore, a 10pm curfew put into place after the rioting prevented overnight food deliveries to the food stores that remained open.

In response to these challenges, and in a larger effort to strengthen the resilience of Baltimore’s food system, the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health teamed up with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability to develop a comprehensive, Baltimore Food System Resilience Advisory Report. Recommendations from the report, which was released today, will be used to develop a Food System Resilience Plan for the city and update Baltimore’s Disaster Preparedness Plan (DP3). These plans play a central role guiding the city’s emergency management and response efforts.

The 21st Century Cities Initiative provided grant funding to CLF for this project, which exemplifies the type of action-oriented, applied policy research that 21CC seeks to support.

Read the full blog post here.