Resident Food Equity Advisors
Resident Food Equity Advisors (RFEA) are cohorts of Baltimore City residents that work to collectively drive equitable food policies through an inclusive, collaborative process. Each cohort has a focused issue in need of resident input and guidance.
Advisors apply and are selected based on their passion for the issue, personal experience related to the topic, ability to commit to the group, and willingness to engage in deep, continual dialogue. Advisors attend 6+ meetings and are compensated for their time.
Dialogue and Transparency
Advisors participate in an intensive process to learn, share and engage. BFPI staff provide RFEAs with briefings from subject matter experts, share a government perspective, and facilitate discussions and activities to understand and gather RFEA priorities and suggestions. Conversations are open, honest, and allow the group to dive into the nuances and multifaceted factors that impact the issue at hand.
Through multiple iterations and back and forth discussion with RFEA and City staff, advisor input is translated into a set of policy recommendations, which are presented to relevant partners and elected officials to consider and incorporate into strategies and implementation plans.
Long Term Engagement
After the cohort is completed, past advisors remain engaged and connected through Food PAC and can always seek out City staff for partnership and support for their work in their communities.
2020 RFEA Cohort: Food and Public Housing
The 2020 Resident Food Equity Advisors represented 13 residents of public housing from each of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) Family Developments. Over the course of six meetings, Advisors discussed their visions for the intersections of food and public housing in collaboration with Food Policy and Planning and HABC Office of Resident Services. Various organizations and subject matter professionals joined the meetings to provide information and answer questions. Advisors engaged in activities to share preferences and took brief surveys to provide additional data for the group to consider.
The Advisors generated this set of recommendations from their lived experiences and intimate knowledge of Baltimore’s food system. They hope that the solutions they envision will improve food equity in and around HABC properties. These recommendations are presented to HABC, Baltimore Food Policy and Planning, and other agencies and organizations that can implement change to improve Baltimore’s food system and move towards the vision for food and public housing depicted above
2018/2019 RFEA Cohort: Small Food Retail
The 2018 Food Environment Maps show that corner and convenience stores have very low Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI) scores. In response to these findings and feedback from 2017 advisors, the 2018 RFEA cohort discussed these stores from multiple angles, including legislation, zoning and land use, safety and security, community engagement, and business support. Advisors with the support of BFPI created recommendations around small food retail.