Governor’s Food Security Council

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Via Zoom

Minutes (Subject to FSC Approval)

Members Present via Zoom:  Dr. Phillip Knight (chair), Lewis Roubal (vice-chair), Patrice Brown, Alex Canepa, Juan Escareno, Diana Marin, Dawn Medley, Ken Nobis, Tammy Rosa, Michelle Schulte, Laurie Solotorow, Wade Syers, Pam Yager, Diane Golzynski, Todd Regis

Non-voting Members Present: Brianna Egan (on behalf of Senator Winnie Brinks), Chelsea Fraley (on behalf of Representative Witwer)

Members Absent: Dr. Delicia Pruitt

Non-voting Members Absent: Representative Wendzel, Senator Kevin Daley

Members via Teleconference: Jamie Zmitko-Somers and Kim Edsenga

Public Comment: No public comment presented at this meeting.

  • Welcome and Introduction – Dr. Phillip Knight, Chairman of Food Security Council
    • Meeting called to order at 1:02 p.m. by Lew Roubal
  • Approval of 1-12-21 minutes and 2-9-21 agendaLewis Roubal, Vice-Chair of Food Security Council
    • Motion by Michelle Schulte to approve 1-12/21 FSC meeting minutes and support by Patrice Brown. The 2-9-21 agenda approved by Dawn Medley and supported by Todd Regis. Motion unanimously carried.


  • Presentation from Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS)
    • Stacy Dean explained how the COVID 19 Public Health crisis is leaving millions of Americans without food along with businesses closing and people out of work. 1 in 5 Black/Latino people state they sometimes or often do not have enough food to eat. She mentioned there has been longstanding racial inequity and there is much more that needs to be done.
    • Stacy Dean explained that President Biden has already put forward the American rescue plan that is $1.9T to provide significant economic relief.
      • Temporarily extend UCB, SNAP, and eviction moratorium, offer help to people struggling, essential employees, earned income tax credit.
      • Nutrition programs: Extend 15% increase in SNAP through September, asked for it to be extended. Invest resources into WIC. Territory resources.


  • Stacy Dean stated the immediate steps to reduce hunger:
    • Increase access to P-EBT 810,000 Michigan children. Michigan’s plan was approved and one of only 13 states approved.
    • Explore options to increase SNAP through Emergency Allotment, even for those who are already getting the maximum benefit.
    • Reevaluate food assistance level to cover the cost of a healthy diet. Build back better.
  • Stacy Dean mentioned they are working on equity and inclusion, addressing discrimination across the agency to reduce disparity. Building policies to get assistance to anyone who needs it regardless of immigration status.
  • Stacy Dean encouraged the food security council to think big and share solutions.


  • Q & A
    • Diane Golzynski brought focus to what we did at the beginning of the crisis for school meals. She wants to acknowledge the quick change to not focus on healthy foods. As a healthy diet is important, Diane mentioned that she wants partners to also get back to stronger nutrition standards. Diane is also worried about kids we are not serving. Stacy said Congress is looking at continuing P-EBT and outreach is a component. LEP may also be an issue.
    • Patrice Brown asked about the Administrative dollars to help with P-EBT and that the increase of SNAP works out to be $27.00 per person and she is thinking about the cost of school lunches as they are under $2.00 per child per day and how to increase the amount to improve nutritional value of school meals. Stacy explained that the 15% bump went in January 2021 through June 2021 but President Biden will be asking for an extension.
    • Diana Marin discussed immigrant communities are eligible for P-EBT and also mentioned wages is a huge issue for Farm Workers. She asked about the USDA’s role to get farmworkers vaccinated. Stacy explained the USDA is taking a close look at the resources available for Farm workers, but it is up to the states to do vaccines.
    • Michelle Schulte mentioned for the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, communication is important and is limited in the field.
    • Todd Regis discussed a hazard pay relief fund to cover all people including farm workers. He also mentioned that he represents grocery workers and they are struggling themselves, and he sees the SNAP value go up but food prices also going up, causing people to make decisions at the checkout. Stacy stated that they need to look at prices and what a healthy diet costs.
    • Wade Syers asked if there is anything we can do to help their efforts. Stacy explained that this helpful and do not assume they have it all figured out. Feel free to lift up formal and informal challenges and the why behind them.
    • Patrice Brown mentioned a help guide. Stacy stated they are moving rapidly. She mentioned Debbie Stabenow has been a great champion on Child Nutrition programs. Can make a document with what we want to solve and why.
    • Dawn Medley asked if there has been any thought to free lunch to students when they leave high school, can we support them on college campuses. Stacy stated that was an interesting idea to explore.
    • Phil Knight asked how has the past prepared Stacy for her new role and what is she most excited about. Stacy explained that the folks at FNS are incredible and the responsibility is extraordinary. She is looking for people like Lew to balance things out. She mentioned our President wants to make big change. She encouraged us to lift our voices.


  • Workgroup Progress Reports
    • Food Supply/Systems—Co-Chairs: Todd Regis and Jamie Somers-Zmitko
      • Members: Amy Baker, Ken Nobis, Wade Syers and Kath Clark
    • Todd Regis discussed that the workgroup has met and has had a few speakers from meat processing, MDARD and an independent retailer supermarket rep to discuss panic buying.
      • Size, quantity and availability of products.
      • Challenges Michigan restaurants have faced.
      • Firekeepers Casino was able to break down and package to help people out.
      • Received update from Debbie Stabenow’s group.


  • Policies – Co-Chairs: Kim Edsenga and Lew Roubal
    • Member: Anna Almanza
    • Kim Edsenga mentioned the U of M Ford School student work is set up.
      • Survey participants determined, finalized questions. The next month is going to the bulk of the work.
      • The work group is internally finalizing a form to be completed by other groups to document policy considerations.
      • They are appreciative of the Ford School students’ energy.
    • Special Populations – Co-Chairs: Diana Marin and Tammy Rosa
      • Member: Dawn Medley
      • Diana Marin provided the following updates:
        • Had three speakers. They got buy in on the special populations identified. Added in veterans.
        • Goal is to give a voice to the special populations.
        • Organizing public comments to hear from them.
        • Parent advisory committee from Gleaners to talk about barriers and suggestions.
        • Also talking to Farm workers and veterans. Diana will be reaching out about Migrant Affairs.


  • Racial Disparities – Co-Chairs: Alex Canepa and Patrice Brown
    • Member: Dr. Diane Golzynski
    • Patrice Brown shared that they have a group of students doing some research for them and working with other Professors and students to help with research.
      • Michelle came and spoke about how the Native American communities are affected by food insecurity.
      • Patrice asked to meet with Phil, Dawn, Katie, and Lew about getting organized to store the correct information and sources for the report. Dawn Opel talked briefly about the report and the importance of keeping track of the material collected for evidence base for policy recommendations.


  • Healthcare – Co-Chairs: Laurie Solotorow and Pam Yager
    • Members: Dr. Delicia Pruitt and Dr. Dawn Opel
  • Laurie Solotorow shared that they have added a few new members to the group.
    • Spoke about the 1115 waivers and where they are working.
    • Had conversations around SIM (State Innovation Model).
    • Next meeting with have rep from Greater Flint Health Coalition and Henry Ford Health Systems.
    • Michelle stated the presentation at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund convening from Henry’s Groceries was amazing.


  • Client Perspectives – Co-Chairs: Lew Roubal and Michelle Schulte
    • Member: Anna Almanza
    • Michelle Schulte shared the following updates:
      • Civilla and MSUE came and presented to the group and offered recommendations.
      • Civilla presented two case studies, navigating community resources and pantries. Along with how we can improve the process.
      • Real time recommendations, open communication, continue to have resident feedback; texting; lift up quality food with pictures.
      • MSUE also gave recommendations for open communication channels. Explained the struggles with growers and producers need to be a part of the conversations, as they are also hungry.


  • New Business
    • Alex Canepa spoke on the Racial Disparities COVID taskforce. Discussed the vaccine and the at-risk populations to help promote the actual factual information about the vaccine’s safety.
    • Patrice Brown asked about how people can join the full FSC meeting and share the information out. Lew stated the information is on the Food Bank website with the dates and call-in information.
    • Diane Marin asked about length of time for public comment (3 minutes for verbal) but written can be provided and we can do an overview.


  • Review of next steps and action items
  • Reminder to everyone to update their documents. Dawn will help keep organized.
  • Phil Knight he met with Governor Whitmer and shared her appreciation. Phil went on to share an experience in Africa and the importance of taking the time to listen to the need of the people who are struggling with food insecurity in Michigan.


  • Meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.