Overview of Baltimore Food Policy Initiative (BFPI)
The Food Policy and Planning Division oversees Baltimore Food Policy Initiative (BFPI) and uses food as a catalyst to address health, economic, and environmental disparities in Healthy Food Priority Areas, areas where residents face compounded challenges in accessing healthy foods. To bring multiple perspectives to food system solutions, the Department of Planning, Office of Sustainability (BOS), Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), and Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) have been key agency leads. After nine years of growth and evolution, BFPI includes three pillars:
Taylor LaFave (he/him/his) is the Chief of Food Policy and Planning and Food Policy Director for the City of Baltimore. He works to build an equitable and resilient urban food system through community food planning. During the pandemic he helped manage the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Food Response by overseeing emergency procurement contracts totaling over $38 million for food box distribution, and launched an innovative home delivery program in partnership with Amazon, the Maryland Food Bank, and the Baltimore Convention Center. Currently, he manages the Food Policy and Planning Division’s $11 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) proposal, "Improving Nutritional Security, Food Access, and Food Equity In Baltimore City During and After COVID-19”. Taylor earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan. In his free time, Taylor enjoys working in his neighborhood garden, biking to work, exploring Baltimore’s history, baking pies, and visiting baseball stadiums across the country.
Lindsay Adams earned her Master’s in Health Sciences with a focus on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Sustainability and received a certification in Food Systems, the Environment, and Public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2019. Before this, she spent 10 years in Colorado where she received her BA in Public Health from the University of Colorado and worked as a community gardener, nutrition educator, and managed two research teams focused on improving food systems in rural and underserved communities. Most recently, she spent two years working as the Program Coordinator for the Accountable Health Communities project at the Baltimore City Health Department. In this role, she served as a project manager, working to improve health outcomes by addressing social determinants of health in clinical settings, and managed BCHD’s public resource directory, CHARMcare.
Yewande "Wande" Akinkuowo is a lover of all things food and public health. Wande holds a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Health Equity from the University of Maryland College Park. Her decision to study Nutrition came from the desire to learn how to be the healthiest version of herself. Wande has three years of experience in nutrition education, working for university extension programs in both Rhode Island and Maryland. In addition Wande has three years of experience in grants, contracts, and budget development from her last role as a Grants and Finance Project Manager at Children's National Research Institute. In her spare time you can probably catch Wande watching Guys Grocery Games or Hell's Kitchen, her hobbies include creating recipes, food photography, content creation and crossfit.
Najahla Olumiji is the Food Systems Planner. Najahla is a Virginia native, but considers Baltimore her long-term home. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Politics from the University of Virginia and a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University. She loves planning because it is the perfect combination of all her interests: politics, health, and history. While at Morgan, Najahla was a graduate assistant where she worked on courses from architecture and city planning to construction management. She is also a Baltimore Corps alumna, where she worked as a Food Policy Fellow for DOP. Najahla enjoys reading, spending time with her dog, and sewing clothes for herself and family.
Jessica joined the Department of Planning as a Food Policy Data Fellow through Baltimore Corps. She received her BA in International Relations and Development from George Washington University and an MS in Health and Medical Policy focusing on public health leadership and management from George Mason University. Jessica has experience in community engagement, public health education, data analytics, and health policy analysis. Her areas of interest include food access, nutrition education, and food system resilience.
Nzingha Campbell is the Baltimore Corps Food Policy fellow. She grew up in Baltimore City and is proud to come from a city with rich history, gorgeous natural resources, and a strong sense of community. Nzingha has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from McDaniel College, where she also minored in Urban and Community studies. Prior to joining the FPP team she worked at the Baltimore City Department of Health’s Division of Aging, connecting older adults to community resources and assistance programs. Nzingha was also a member of the Department of Planning’s Spring 2022 Planning Academy, which solidified her interest in community planning and development. She is passionate about bringing direct services and resources to underserved communities, and ecstatic to join the Department of Planning. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, home improvement shows, and spoiling her two cats.