The Blaine County Food Council: Addressing Food Insecurity in Idaho

In Blaine County, Idaho, 38% of the population is facing food insecurity. To tackle this issue, the Blaine County Food Council (BCFC) was established to promote communication, coordination, and collaboration among local food system stakeholders. Amy Mattias and Stacy Whitman of the Local Food Alliance are the coordinators of the BCFC and invite all Blaine County residents to join their efforts. The top priority of the BCFC is currently emergency housing.

They have come up with temporary housing solutions, such as placing people in hotel rooms. Nathan Harvill, executive director of the Blaine County Housing Authority, has noted that wages have remained stagnant while housing prices continue to increase. This has caused a great deal of inequality in the area, as Blaine County has the highest median income in Idaho. The Coalition Against Hunger created a report on COVID-19 that states that 25% of all jobs in Blaine are in leisure and hospitality.

This has caused wages to drop while the cost of living continues to rise. With more than 100 people in Blaine County living in temporary housing and 48 people at risk of losing their temporary housing, community organizations are asking authorities to help meet housing needs. In response to this situation, Mayor Ned Burns appointed Jennifer Rangel Muniz as a new member of the Bellevue City Council. Jeff Emerick, who was born and raised in Blaine County, is a member of the board of directors of the Coalition Against Hunger and works at the Blaine County elections office. The Coalition Against Hunger was one of six groups that wrote a letter to Blaine County commissioners calling for changes. The BCFC is working hard to address food insecurity in Blaine County and is actively seeking solutions to this pressing issue.

They are encouraging all members of the community to join their efforts and help create a more equitable food system for everyone.