The Partnership for Food Security is a voluntary association of individuals and organizations initiated to fight the COVID 19 virus attacks on the people and communities who plant, grow, raise, harvest, feed, transport, store, process and bring us our food.
This pilot project began with a primary focus on testing in Central Washington due to the virus’ significant presence in the region. However, by taking a community-centered approach, we have been able to meet the needs of our communities as they arise. Once a vaccine was available, we quickly pivoted to a vaccine distribution program and were entrusted with a vaccine stock from the Biden Administration, which we quickly put to use. We will continue this work by focusing on the hurdles still being felt by lockdowns and closures that were needed to maximize the health of our fellow community.
While Covid is still a severe threat to many, Washington state is slowly recovering from the pandemic. However, the after-effects of COVID-19, homelessness, mental health, and financial insecurity will continue to reverberate for the foreseeable future. Addressing the lessons learned about misinformation, leadership, and community importance can not be overstated.
Over the last two years, the Partnership for our Food Security, now the Partnership for our Community and Food Security, has worked diligently to share information and ensure medical access to predominantly rural and/or Latino communities across Washington.
In 2020 we saw clear a need to connect with community organizations, medical centers and trusted community resources to cut through the noise, providing our community with information they could trust and resources to learn more. We hosted vaccine clinics, testing sites and opportunities for people to share why they decided to get vaccinated and built on this by sharing information directly from respected medical experts from within the community.
We have distributed thousands of vaccines and have tested hundreds of people. We can now say that Washington’s farmworkers and agricultural communities hold a vaccination rate proportionally higher than the average population. However, the approach to supporting the people on whom Washington’s food security depends needs to continue to be strengthened.
The continued need for testing and vaccination information is clear, especially in historically underrepresented communities. However, effects like ongoing mental health crises, a lack of community, and isolation are still being discovered. They will continue to plague communities across Washington until substantial action is taken to counteract them. The Partnership for our Food Security aims to remedy this!
By providing renewed support for Washington’s Latino community voices, we reinforce their presence in each community, have the opportunity to confront an emerging mental health crisis and reduce the spread of misinformation in the future.