What's Happening?

What's Happening?

The Schenectady Foundation Launches Food Council to Tackle County-Wide Food Insecurity

(Schenectady, NY) – The Schenectady Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the Schenectady County Food Council, a multi-organization, collaborative initiative, to increase food security within Schenectady County.


According to Feeding America, Schenectady County has a food insecurity rate of 10.3 percent, or 16,020 people. When looking specifically at children, that rate rises to 15.7 percent, which is 7.5 percent more than the national average. The Food Council plans to change this by engaging a variety of community members to help identify specific food insecurity issues, then determine solutions that will combat the issues in a meaningful way. Schenectady residents of all experiences and backgrounds are encouraged to get involved with this initiative.


“The Schenectady County Food Council is focused on changing the food system by engaging community members to help others and themselves,” said Kristi Milligan, Director of Grants and Community Programs at The Schenectady Foundation. “We truly believe that the people closest to the issue are those that will have the best handle on how to fix the issue. That’s why we are encouraging every Schenectady resident to get involved, share their perspectives, and work toward our common goal of increasing food security in Schenectady County.”


Participants and organizations in the Food Council include The Schenectady Foundation, Messiah Lutheran Church, Rotterdam Community Center, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Schenectady City School District, Schenectady Community Ministries, Schenectady Urban Farms, Schenectady County Public Health, Schenectady Greenmarket, Schenectady Street Soldiers, The Food Pantries for the Capital District, Free Food Fridge Schenectady, Regional Food Bank, and more.


Congressman Paul Tonko (D, NY-20) said: ““As we begin negotiations on this year’s Farm Bill, I’ve been working to ensure that the problem of food insecurity is fully addressed. In my Farm Bill listening sessions throughout our district, I’ve heard directly from nonprofit organizations and other key stakeholders about the critical need to expand access to affordable, nutritious food here in Schenectady and across our Capital Region.  With that in mind, I’m thrilled now to see the Schenectady County Food Council stepping up to address this vital issue. With dozens of local organizations presenting a united front in this effort to alleviate food insecurity in the Schenectady area, I’m confident that we can make real progress in expanding food access for all who need it. Going forward, I’m eager to begin working alongside the Food Council and its member organizations to hear directly from the community about the actions we can take and the resources we can deliver to make Schenectady a better, healthier place for all who call it home.”


Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D- Schenectady, Montgomery) said: "Today marks a significant stride towards a stronger, more resilient Schenectady County. The launch of the Schenectady County Food Council stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and community spirit. With a steadfast commitment to tackling food insecurity head-on, this multi-organization initiative will not only address the pressing issue at hand but also forge a path towards a more equitable future. Our shared goal is to uplift every voice and every table in Schenectady, and to ensure that no member of our community goes to bed hungry. By engaging a diverse array of community members and organizations, we are embracing a holistic approach to identifying and solving the root causes of food insecurity. Together, we can overcome the challenges that have plagued us and build a brighter, more nourished tomorrow for all. Let us rally together, Schenectady, and turn the tide on food insecurity with unwavering unity and compassion."


Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said: "After the pandemic, the need for a food council increased significantly and forced creative solutions for priority areas. This food council wouldn’t be in existence without the many community partners that came together to serve the neighborhoods throughout the county. This healthy eating initiative needs to have on going events in the neighborhoods where gatherings happen to promote and support a healthier diet. This council will play a key role in promoting community engagement and education."



Through the identification and coordination of collective impact activities, the Schenectady County Food Council will make recommendations for a community-informed food system that is equitable, healthy, and accessible for all Schenectady County residents. It will continue the work of the Schenectady County Healthy & Equitable Food Action Plan and update as needed.

Food Council Page

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