Legislation would formally create the Nevada Council on Food Security

by Brian Bahouth

Citrus at the Great Basin Community Co-op - image - Brian Bahouth

Carson City – In 2014, by executive order, Governor Sandoval established the Council on Food Security. Since then the Council has been tasked with helping prevent food insecurity in Nevada as laid out in the “2013 Food Security in Nevada: Nevada’s Plan of Action.” SB178 formally creates the Council in statute and prescribes its membership and operating guidelines.

SB178 also establishes the Food for People, Not Landfills Program within the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of increasing food security by decreasing food waste and recognizing and assisting people who further those purposes. The intent of the program is to incentivize food recovery by restaurants, retail grocer, food growers, food manufacturers and distributors.

Hear introductory remarks from primary sponsor, Senator Yvanna Cancela given to the Senate Committee on Government Affairs on Monday, March 11, 2019.

“Today in America, according to the US Department of Agriculture, 12 percent or 15 million American households face challenge to provide enough food for their families,” Senator Cancela said to the Senate Committee on Government Affairs.  “In Nevada, it’s one in eight households, and 1 in 6 children are food insecure … which means they do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food, and unfortunately, food security is a strong predictor of health status, so when we talk about food insecurity, we’re really talking about health issues compiling on themselves.

“At the same time though, we throw away more than 171,000 tons of organic waste each year, and that’s according to Nevada Recycles which is a program under the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. That’s equal to 342 million pounds , or 114 pounds of organic waste per person each year.

“And a significant amount of the organic material that is dumped into landfills, is actually edible food that people simply do not consume.”

Senator Cancela concluded her remarks with an example.

“I believe we, as legislators, have a responsibility to improve the food security of Nevadans, and this statistic was particularly striking to me, if we were able to recover just 5 percent of the organic waste that is thrown away right now in Nevada, we would end food hunger for some 85,000 Nevadans. Pretty striking.”

Hear introductory remarks from Jodi Tyson of Three Square

An audio catalog of testimony in support of SB178. No one spoke in opposition to the measure.

In support

Brian Burton, president and CEO of the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas.

Gayla Boyd, a pastor at Truth Christian Ministries.

Warren Hardy, Nevada League of Cities

Shane Piccinini Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Sarah Sanchez, director Carson Valley Community Food Closet.

Sherry Jameson, former CEO of Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Liz McMenamin, the Retail Association of Nevada.