Governor’s Food Security Council

Tuesday, August 10, 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, Kim Edsenga, Dr. Diane Golzysnki, Steffany Muirhead, Ken Nobis, Dr. Delicia Pruitt, Tammy Rosa, Todd Regis, Laurie Solotorow, Wade Syers, Pam Yager, and Jamie Zmitko-Somers

Non-voting Members Present: Sophia Rishar [on behalf of Representative Witwer], Brianna Egan [on behalf of Senator Brinks]

Members Absent: Juan Escareno, Michelle Leask, Diana Marin, Dawn Medley

Non-voting Members Absent: Representative Wendzel and Senator Daley

Members via Teleconference:

Public Comment: No public comment.

 

  • Welcome and Introduction – Dr. Phillip Knight, Chairman of Food Security Council
    1. Meeting called to order at 1:02 p.m. by Lew Roubal
  • Approval of 6-8-21 minutes and 8-10-21 agendaLewis Roubal, Vice-Chair of Food Security Council
    • Motion by Alex Canepa to approve 6-8-21 FSC meeting minutes and the 8-10-21 agenda, supported by Patrice Brown. Motion unanimously carried.

 

  • Presentation on Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Farm Bill, and FSC Q&A – Mary Judnich, Regional Manager, W. Michigan Office of Senator Stabenow & Claire Borzner, Professional Staff at Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
    • Claire Borzner shared that the Senate Committee on Agriculture is working on the following matters:
      • The budget resolution and reconciliation process;
      • $30B for nutrition: Expanding access to free meals as well as secure funds for children to purchase food over summer when school is out;
      • Striving to make it more financially viable (increasing reimbursement) for schools to participate in the National School Lunch Program [NSLP], and reducing administrative burden on on schools;
      • Summer EBT [Electronic Benefit Transfer]: Michigan has demonstrated that this is helping tremendously in decreasing food insecurity throughout the summer. We need to take this nationwide. While other states have participated, Michigan is the only state that has had Summer EBT for the last nine consecutive years;
      • Child Nutrition Reauthorization [CNR]: Striving to make permanent changes included in the budget reconciliation process. The committee has high hopes to take it up in the fall before Farm Bill comes up.
        • Priority areas within the CNR: expand access to WIC, CACFP, Summer EBT, additional methods of reaching children throughout the summer, meal standards [moving forward and building on progress that we have made].
      • USDA is working to update the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). TFP is one of four USDA-designed food plans specifying categories and amounts of foods to provide adequate nutrition. The TFP is extremely out of date and the benefits are not reflecting food prices appropriately. USDA is on track to finish before 10/1/21 so that SNAP recipients can receive updated benefits and not hit a benefits cliff once current enhanced SNAP benefits end.
      • The Farm Bill conversation will begin 2022 and will be reauthorized in 2023. Field hearings will be held in Michigan and Arkansas. Each hearing will be by title in the Farm Bill. Key priorities have not been identified.

 

  • Q&A
    • Anna Almanza shared the upcoming CNR event, Michigan Child Nutrition Spotlight event, with the FSC and welcomed all.
    • Phil Knight inquired if the CNR event sounds helpful for CNR advocacy. And, would Claire, Mary, and their team like to see similar work / events? How can we come alongside of them?
      • Claire Borzner shared that events as such are absolutely helpful and they may want to see more of these as they begin the hearing process.
      • Mary Judnich shared that once the Farm Bill is signed, they are constantly evaluating. The more that we can hear from individuals who have benefitted from nutrition programs, or have feedback, the better.
    • Patrice Brown asked if any of the SNAP priorities focus on expanding farmers markets and/or expanding online access for SNAP benefits.
      • Claire Borzner explained that within the SNAP online space, yes, expanding online EBT benefits to a more centralized market will most definitely going to be a conversation within the Farm Bill. This is large priority as it has expanded tremendously during COVID-19. They are looking to make improvements to improve access to healthy and nutritious foods for the SNAP recipients. Within the CNR space, they, too, want to continue farmers markets along with additional funding along with seniors markets.
    • Patrice Brown also asked if the WIC benefits or summer EBT on electronic bridge card will be able to be used at farmers markets as customers are currently having to be turned away. Patrice asked them to advocate for this.
      • Claire Borzner explained that it comes down to technology and difficulty with program item eligibility is an issue that national WIC association is working to address.
    • Patrice Brown asked for support for the ‘Fresh-From-Scratch program’ within Detroit public schools.
      • Claire Borzner stated that in CNR that are grants for kitchen equipment. Balance between improving nutrition standards and also making it possible for schools to meet those standards.
      • How can schools better invest in infrastructure? Diane Golzynski explained that we will never get to where we need to be in meal standards without transitioning to ‘from-scratch meals’. A lot of schools only have warming stations and need bigger kitchens in order to move forward. With other competing needs within schools, ‘from scratch meals’ isn’t one of the top priorities. COVID relief funding can help to expand footprint of the kitchen.
      • Diane Golzynski shared that these programs teach lifelong eating habits and we will not do that effectively if we don’t demonstrate the how/why for from-scratch cooking.
    • Lew Roubal inquired about thoughts and / or suggestions around last mile delivery. He shared that while online EBT is helpful, but for seniors and others with mobility issues, a last mile option would be helpful. Thoughts on last mile delivery options with future legislative movement?
      • Claire Borzner that last mile delivery solutions are in the conceptual stage. There are concerns with SNAP benefits for delivery and they hope there is an opportunity to work with vendors to move through fees. This concept will be a strong focus for the Farm Bill.
    • Lew Roubal also asked if there is any sort of alignment of federal Medicaid program with the Federal Food Assistance Program: any thoughts if programs could better align / cross-enrollment.
      • Claire Borzner explained that that is one area that they’re hoping to take up in the reconciliation process as it is a big challenge using the data systems. They are hoping to implement this process and the USDA and relevant state agencies will then need to work together once the policy is in place.
      • Phil Knight explained how beneficial it would be for all if we were able to align / cross enrollment creating a ‘no wrong door’ that would make a tremendous difference in creating a food secure state.
    • Workgroup Progress Reports
      • Food Supply/Systems—Todd Regis and Jamie Somers-Zmitko
    • Jamie Somers-Zmitko shared that their workgroup is fleshing out their recommendations. They are recommending to increase in Michigan Agricultural Surplus System [MASS] programs to $5M in the coming years – it will be beneficial for FBCM and producers throughout the state. The workgroup is hopeful to be able to get more meat and dairy items with additional funding as the funds typically run out in April.
      • Policies – Lew Roubal and Kim Edsenga
        • Lew Roubal shared that there are no updates; they are working on refining their recommendations.
      • Racial Disparities – Alex Canepa and Patrice Brown
    • Alex Canepa shared that they had a meeting with Janae Moore, with MDHHS and Myra Lee with WIC to address competition for funding sources across nonprofit organizations.
      • They are looking though culturally appropriate lens with WIC’s nutrition education and will possibly be including them in their recommendations.
    • Healthcare – Laurie Solotorow and Pam Yager
      • Laurie Solotorow shared that they are working on data and data collection –return on investment on child fresh prescription programs, and they are hopeful to continue to inform the FSC as they move forward.
      • The workgroup had a conversation with Kate Massey at Medicaid regarding potential for payers to embrace the work we are doing [food access and SDoH]. The conversation lines are open.
      • Laurie Solotorow shared how Dr. Dawn Opel, Lew Roubal and Dr. Phil Knight presented about Fresh Food Pharmacies at the Michigan Association of Health Plans [MAHP] conference at the beginning of August. Lew Roubal shared there is a lot of interest from the health plan audience and the work around this.
    • Special Populations – Diana Marin and Tammy Rosa
      • Tammy Rosa shared that there are not a lot of updates within their workgroup. In June, they wrapped up on recommendations and are looking towards the next steps in moving forward with their group.
      • They are working with a large variety of organizations and looking at Prescriptions for Health. They are working on a pilot for her region.
      • Their workgroup will soon be picking up meetings and moving forward.
    • Client Perspectives – Lew Roubal and Michelle Leask
  • Lew Roubal shared that they met with Michigan Poverty Law Program and they brought forward observations on safety nets around food insecurity and taking back to their team.
  • They also discussed allowing a proxy to use a benefit recipient’s Bridge card due to mobility and disability issues.
    • Nothing else planned at this juncture.
  • New Business
    • N/A
  • Review of next steps and action items
    • Phil Knight reviewed specific sections of Governor Whitmer’s charge for the FSC to provide a bit of a refresh as workgroups come back together to make sure we are accomplishing what we were charged with.
    • Part C: Identify and assess evidence-based policies to decrease food insecurity, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This should include consideration of innovative efforts and proposals, as well as solutions adopted by other states to address food insecurity and their potential applicability to the problem as it exists in Michigan. Whatever we purpose must be measurable. Impact must be able to be measured.
    • Part D: Analyze the return on investment to policies that decrease food insecurity, including, where appropriate, cost-benefit analysis of these policies’ impacts on economic growth, educational outcomes, health outcomes, and other areas. One of the things that we discovered in the FSC, we are under the umbrella of federal policy. It’s not just about more, but how can we do better?
    • These values need to come across through workgroups.
    • Part E: Review and make recommendations regarding how the resources and efforts currently devoted to address food insecurity can be best coordinated and implemented, and how those resources and efforts can be most effectively supplemented.
    • When our recommendations come down they should be scalable, sustainable [ROI that helps pay for program, not grant or appropriation dependent, and measurable.
    • Lew Roubal discussed that sustainability is going to be the most difficult to achieve as others could be done so with funding. How do you extrapolate ROI around food security generally? Lew Roubal suggests that workgroups should spend some time on ROI.
      • Alex Canepa asked whether recommendations can address legislative action even though report is to the Governor. Alex also asked if there a running list of all 30 recommendations.
        • Phil Knight said yes on recommendations geared toward legislature. He also explained that the workgroups need look at our work and then expand it to others. Phil will be checking in with Dawn Opel on running document.
      • Phil Knight proposed the question of “how do we measure the impact that food makes”? What is your case for measurable impact?
      • Patrice Brown expressed concerns about this lens for those working on the ground—may need more funding to get to impact metrics needed for report. Concerns noted for further discussion.

 

  • Jamie Zmitko-Somers asked if there is a way we could also break out items that departments / organizations could move forward on as well that wouldn’t need policy changes, funding, etc.?
  • Todd Regis noted that beyond the framework articulated, we need to find the “how” for difficult issues such as low wages for foodworkers, etc.
  • Wade Syers expressed that it would be beneficial for the FSC to continue our work past the due date. Food insecurity is a huge issue that we are all passionate about and we may not be able to complete all of the work.

 

  • From Lew Roubal: For September’s meeting: 5 recommendations with the takeaways of sustainable, scalable, and measurable. [Concrete deliverables to go out from FSC leadership team before September’s meeting.]

 

 

  • Meeting adjourned at 2:28 p.m.

 

Next full FSC meeting: 9/14/21, 1-3:00 p.m. via Zoom.