Joel Diringer was one of the conveners of the SLO County Food System Coalition (FSC). His consulting business Diringer & Associates focuses on health policy and program development, research and evaluation, and so he was called upon to work on the Hunger-Free Community Project. This project was born out of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hunger-Free Communities planning grant that was awarded in Spring 2011 to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.
It was important to me to help form the food system coalition in order to coalesce community efforts that were combating hunger on many different fronts, and also to provide a community forum for discussion and action.” - Joel Diringer, Diringer & Associates
After the conclusion of the Hunger-Free Communities grant, the Food Bank, with Diringer & Associate’s assistance, was awarded the USDA Community Food Project grant twice, consecutively. These were used for various projects carried out by food system stakeholders, including the FSC, which focused on expanding nutrition and food opportunities to marginalized immigrant, and Latinx communities in San Luis Obispo County.
Joel sees value in the FSC because it coalesces a wide range of SLO County residents who are interested in an equitable and sustainable food system. Bringing together agriculture interests, social services providers, health professionals, educational organizations and grassroots advocates means a large portion of the food system is represented, which will help bring positive change.
However, Joel notes that ten years after its initiative to drive out hunger in the county, there is still work to do. With the help of a committed base of organizations and persons who continue toward FSC’s goals, Joel knows the food system will continue to improve.
Over the years, I have enjoyed working with a robust group of “old-timers” and new participants to keep the Coalition sustained.” - Joel Diringer, Diringer & Associate
We are so thankful for Joel's help to create our Coalition! If you or someone you know has skills in grant writing, project organizing, or other nonprofit support areas that you would like to volunteer, please contact us today!