Ernesto Fonseca, CEO of the Hacienda Community Development Corporation  (CDC), one of the largest CDCs in Oregon, Fonseca helps provide affordable housing, youth and family services, homeownership education, and small business development. Additionally, Hacienda CDC has created a Latino Market for emerging food entrepreneurs.

Food Tank spoke with Fonseca to discuss his life experiences, his current efforts to improve access to nutrition education, and his hopes for the future of food policy.

FT: How are you helping to build a better food system?

EF: We provide educational information to individuals on the nutritional needs of their bodies. We also inform them of ways to identify healthy eating opportunities and how to access fresh foods. Hacienda CDC works closely with numerous organizations and the Oregon State Legislature to advocate for healthier school meals combined with increased nutritional education and awareness. Finally, we assist in the creation of legislation that supports healthier food systems, sustainable land use, and access to affordable healthy food options in low-income communities and communities of color.

FT: How can we make food policy more relevant to eaters so that the politicians representing them feel the mandate to act?

EF: Food policy has always been a second or third priority in politics. You rarely ever will hear anyone talking about food policy outside of niche forums. We need to link food policy to affordability factors, family incomes, and economic impacts to create support for healthier food policies. In order to create this shift, we must begin by investing in education to bring awareness to food system issues.

Read the full article about food access for low-income communities by Max De Faria at Food Tank.