Introduction to the 2022-2023 Kern County Food Assessment by CAPK

The Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) teamed up with Transforming Local Communities, Inc., (TLC) in June 2023 to explore the state of food availability, access and affordability in Kern County. Despite being a hub for agricultural production with a value of $8.34 billion in 2021, Kern County faces significant challenges with food insecurity, impacting 13% of adults and 18.2% of children in 2021.

This study serves as a critical examination of food insecurity in Kern County, aiming to uncover hidden struggles and initiate thoughtful solutions for a healthier, more equitable future for the community.

Purpose of the Assessment

This study aims to understand how food supply and distribution impact the health and nutrition of Kern residents and to gather data that can be used to expand services in the areas of greatest need. The goals are focused on ensuring continuous access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food for Kern County residents.

The Challenge

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the ending of many emergency food programs has left local organizations overwhelmed by the increasing demand for food. This study arises in response to the paradox of widespread obesity and food insecurity in a region known for its agricultural abundance, with Bakersfield even being named “America’s hungriest city” in 2012.

Approach

The assessment will guide efforts to bring positive changes through improved policies, community education, and increased support for food initiatives, targeting both the availability and nutritional value of food. It aims to resolve the apparent contradictions in the region and to promote food equity and improved health for the community.

Food Policy Council

The California Food Policy Council(CAFPC) is a collaborative of local food policy groups working to ensure that California’s food system reflects the needs of all of its communities.

California Food Policy Council

The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) is a collective of local food policy groups striving to ensure that California’s food system is inclusive and equitable, reflecting the needs of all communities within the state. Established to influence food systems legislation and policy-making processes, the CAFPC actively advocates for systems change and transparency in California, aiming to create a more inclusive political environment embracing diverse food and farming interests.

Educate & Advocate

The council educates policymakers on food system issues and generates public support for statewide policy priorities, focusing on the creation of equitable, transparent and sustainable food policies

Capacity Building

It builds the capability of local food policy bodies, enabling them to find common ground on policy priorities and advocate for meaningful changes.

Equity & Accessibility

Ensuring access to nutritious, culturally appropriate food and reducing health and income disparities.

Local food policy bodies interested in joining this values-driven collective impact effort and ratifying the principles of CAFPC are encouraged to contact Roots of Change.

By partaking in the initiatives led by CAFPC, members contribute to the ongoing efforts to reshape California’s food systems to be more just, inclusive and sustainable, fostering health and equality across all communities.