Gila Valley Food Coalition meets Thursday

- Magda Ehlers Photo/Pexels

SAFFORD — Those involved in the production of food are asked to come together this week to discuss how to address food issues in the Gila Valley.

“Thursday we’re going to have a producers meeting for people who grow or farm, or raise any sort of animals or produce in the Gila Valley. We’re trying to get them all together to hear what their challenges are, ways that we can help support them and strengthen our local food system,” said Kathryn Williams, with Americorps.

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

“I think food, in general, impacts everyone everywhere. Right now we have such a food insecurity concern in both Graham and Greenlee counties that we’re just looking at ways that we can contribute,” said United Way CEO Adam O’Doherty.

“It comes into three categories: We have our producers . . . that’s more of our farmers, growers, things like that. How do we get them to be more diversified and grow their system so they can be more vibrant as well,” he continued. “We also focus more on the nutrition aspect; how do we get healthier food to those who don’t have access to it? And, of course, our food insecurity portion of our food banks. Access in general, where are our food deserts, how do we get food out there, how do we support our food banks, how do we get all our food banks to talk on the same system and approach the same goals?”

The Gila Valley Food Coalition meeting will take place Thursday, March 18, from 10-11:30 a.m., at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce