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Story updated on Feb. 23, 2017.

On Friday, Feb. 17, Carolina Public Press held a free public forum on food deserts and food policy in Western North Carolina, the latest conversation in the 2017 Newsmakers series.

Panelists and the audience discussed issues surrounding access to affordable and fresh foods in Western North Carolina. What are “food deserts” and where do they exist in Western North Carolina? What are the efforts to set food policy at the local, regional and statewide level — and what, if any, impact will that have on our residents, economy and communities?

Panelists were Charlie Jackson, executive director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project; Hannah Randall, chief executive officer of MANNA FoodBank; Kiera Bulan, coordinator of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council; and Laura Sexton, registered dietitian with Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services at UNC Asheville.

The event was moderated by Frank Taylor, managing editor of Carolina Public Press, a nonprofit online news service providing independent, in-depth and investigative news for Western North Carolina. The event, which included a panel discussion and audience Q&A, was sponsored by Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

You may view a recording of the forum below or a full-screen version here.

Staff Reports

This release, story or event was developed through multiple sources and/or is from the staff of Carolina Public Press.

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