Coalition taking on the issue of food insecurity in the Gila Valley

- Cottonbro Photo/Pexels

SAFFORD — Forty percent of those who took part in a recent study about food insecurity in the Gila Valley say they are often without food until they receive money, 35 percent said they can’t afford to eat balanced meals and 47 percent who are food insecure are employed.

To address the issue of food insecurity, the Gila Valley Food Coalition is hosting a meeting in March for those involved in the local food system — from producers and sellers to others who may not realize their importance in the food chain.

“I think there are so many things that play into food,” said Kathryn Williams, an AmeriCorps volunteer who is working with the coalition. “As I’m taking on this role, I’m learning more and more that it’s not just about providing healthy food to people. It’s also about teaching people how they can cook that food so that it’s good; how can we get transportation so that people can come to the Farmer’s Market or go to a grocery store.”

The meeting seeks to build upon the Eat Local Gila Valley campaign that launched in the fall of 2020.

The meeting will take place at the Gila Valley Farmers Market in the Graham County Chamber of Commerce building on March 18, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Local farmers, ranchers, food producers, food businesses and food advocates are invited to attend in-person or via Zoom.

The Gila Valley Food Coalition is a collection of community partners including the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, the Graham County Health Department, Local First Arizona, Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry, and the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties.