The purpose of Allen County GROW (Growing Rural Opportunities Works) Food and Farm Council is to increase access to affordable, nutritious and safe food for Allen County residents.
Objectives include support of the development of local food infrastructure to support the production, processing, distribution and safe, affordable and locally produced food products; educate and promote stewardship and conservation of land, water and natural resources; improve health outcomes and increase access to wholesome local food.
Allen County GROW was started by an Allen County Commissioners’ resolution in August 2014. Council members include producers, people involved with food banks and nutrition in the schools, a physician, people involved with nutrition education, as well as a restaurant manager, a small grocer, and a high school student. One of the purposes of the council is to improve the health of county residents.
In 2015, Allen County ranked 87th out of 101 ranked counties for health outcomes in the County Health Rankings put out by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As part of determining the needs of the county when it comes to the availability of healthy food, Allen County GROW did a community food survey. The CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows that less than 20% of county residents consume the five fruit and vegetable servings recommended per day. Only 7.1% of our respondents had eaten that many the day before answering the survey.