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Professor Helps Organize County Food Task Force

Rachel Bezner Kerr, faculty
Tompkins County
Large white truck with Food Bank of Southern Tier written on the side of the truck. Provided

Rachel Bezner Kerr, professor of global development, CALS, is part of a core team that has organized the Tompkins County COVID-19 Food Task Force, a nerve center working to ensure that those in need have access to food and that food producers stay in operation during the crisis. Bezner Kerr collaborated with community leaders over the past few weeks to get this countywide task force up and running. The task force is divided into three teams, focused on: coordinating emergency distribution of food; steady production of food; and health and communication. Each team holds its own weekly call, with more than 60 organizations participating and another 30 organizations that may not attend weekly calls but are part of the county food system.

The task force will operate as a three-month pilot program, and it could continue longer based on emergency needs of the county. “We want everyone in this community eating safely and nutritiously,” Bezner Kerr said, “and we don’t want this health crisis leading to a food crisis, so we want to make sure that food distribution continues, and we don’t lose any farms.”

Image: The Food Bank of the Southern Tier produces 600 food boxes every week for distribution to families in need. Provided

Read the full story by Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle