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More than 100 Jefferson County community members and representatives from local organizations attended an all-day conference on food insecurity on Nov. 9, which was put on by Jefferson County Public Health.“It’s unacceptable that anybody in our county is hungry,” said Marion Kalb, the food systems coordinator for the Jeffco health department. “Food makes a huge difference on how we function.”Adults perform better at their jobs, and children are able to learn better when they are well-fed, Kalb said.“Food really helps people be the best that they can be,” she added.Access to food means that it is affordable and geographically accessible, Kalb said, and that people are educated on preparing fresh produce and knowing how to shop for food that provides nutritional value on a limited budget.The conference served as a gathering for the health department’s Food Policy Council, which looks at what is happening with food insecurity across the county. The council represents the different sectors of the food system, Kalb said, such as farmers, distributors, food co-ops, healthcare representatives, agencies such as WIC and human services, educators and nonprofit partners.“This is all about collaboration,” said Rachel Cohen, a special projects administrator for the health department. “Collaborations allow us to work across sectors. It’s going to take all of us together.”Food Policy CouncilJefferson County Public Health’s Food Policy Council meets monthly at the Jefferson County Public Health department in Lakewood. It is open to anyone who is interested in increasing food security and providing access to healthy food for all Jeffco residents.To learn more, visit www.healthyjeffco.com/food access, or contact Marion Kalb, the health department’s food systems coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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