Ken Malbrough

 County of San Diego Supervisor Candidate Questionnaire – Ken Malbrough responses

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We invite you to share your vision for how County of San Diego can build on existing initiatives (ex: the County of San Diego’s Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative) and/or create even more innovative solutions to address these issues in order to develop an equitable and sustainable food system. Please limit each answer to 250 words. 

1. Food Insecurity: How will you address food insecurity in San Diego County? We know that 13% of the total population in San Diego County, half a million, is food insecure, which includes families, seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans struggling with unemployment and underemployment. However, the Federal administration is currently proposing drastic cuts and structural changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). San Diego County also has one of the worst CalFresh (California name for SNAP) enrollment rates in the nation with estimates putting in enrollment at only 49.5% of eligible residents. What role do you think the County of San Diego should have on a local, statewide, and national level on this issue? 

Answer:  Identify the areas, outreach and entities that are struggling, food deserts. Provide education and wrap around services, and community advocacy for the lack of food insecurity in our county. We should also collaborate with all of our local school districts to attain information on access to education, information on how to get better access to food,

2. Equitable Access to Healthy Food: How will you support equitable access to healthy food for underserved communities? San Diegans face daunting health disparities, where the most food insecure residents also face the highest rates of obesity in the county, and limited access to healthy, affordable food is disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities and communities of color. What would you do to remove barriers? How would you work with cities to create land use incentives to improve the quality of food and beverages sold in neighborhood food environments (healthy neighborhood markets, farmers markets, full service grocery stores, full service restaurants, wellness centers, community gardens, etc.) in underserved communities? 

Answer: Target, identify and connect all the disparate groups and collaborate together to bring resources from all relevant departments from both the county, state and federal agencies. To include elements, such as updating community plans in order to better access healthy food choices.

3. Support for Small-Scale Farming and Fishing: How will you support the viability of small-scale farming and fishing in San Diego? San Diego County hosts the most number of organic and small farms than any other county in the nation. With ready access to the Pacific Ocean, San Diego also consists of a vibrant fishing community, with over 65 locally-available fish species. Supporting a thriving farming and fishing industry in our region creates local jobs, contributes to multiplier effects to our economy, supports global sustainability goals, and encourages regional resilience. However, the average age of small food producers, both farming and fishing, are over 60 years old. These food producers operate on slim margins with high resource inputs (such as water and land access for farmers), making it challenging to compete with cheaper imports from countries with lower labor costs and less-stringent regulations. What would you do to support the viability of the small-scale local farming and fishing community in San Diego County? How would you ensure that these critical occupations are preserved for the next generation? 

Answer: We would begin with more favorable land use to support and preserve growth for the current farming needs. To help traditional fishermen to transition into high tech farm fishing and aquaculture. Overall we would need to incentive through economic development funding, land use, permitting and zoning.

4. Food Waste: How will you support San Diego County’s food waste reduction, donation, and recycling goals? In San Diego County, we generate at least 700,000 tons of food waste per year and our composting facilities process around 2% of the total food waste generated. Many reasons contribute to the food waste problem including ambiguous date labels, lack of proper planning and storage, and aesthetic preferences of consumers. Behavior changes are necessary to waste less with edible food being donated to feed hungry people in San Diego County. The remaining food waste has the potential to be turned into compost, livestock feed, or energy, which would reduce our the County’s greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs. The County of San Diego’s High Waste Diversion Plan includes many of these strategies. What would you do to ensure that the County meets the targets identified? What is the County’s role in ensuring that the entire region is making coordinated progress towards these goals? 

Answer: We can begin with establishing more recycling sites and education on recycling. Better collaboration with food distribution centers to reduce waste. County Department of Weight and Measure along with County Health Department can set targets, and enroll private corporations to meet targets and reduce food waste.

5. Food Procurement: How will you use County contracts to increase purchases of Good Food? The County of San Diego adopted the EatWell Practices in December 2016 to commit to using its public dollars to buy nutritious foods grown locally and sustainably. The County staff is now working on implementing the EatWell Practices. There is an opportunity to ensure robust measures are in place and take this to commitment to the next level by adopting the nationally-recognized Good Food Procurement Program (GFPP). GFPP would strengthen the County’s support of the local economy, environmental sustainability, workers’ rights and animal welfare, as well as nutrition. What would you do to leverage the County's food purchasing power around food procurement? 

Answer: We would need to ensure financial sustainability and expand the existing program. Work in partnership with state and federal agencies to improve the quality and continue to expand 1 program with private partnerships as well.

6. Urban Agriculture: How will you increase food growing opportunities such as community gardens and urban farms in your district? Urban agriculture provides a myriad of community, health and environmental benefits, including increased green and open space, improved access to fresh food and neighborhood beautification. Some cities have reviewed their land use codes as well as created incentive programs (Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone). What steps do you propose to encourage and support residents growing their own food? 

Answer: Identify and provide assistance for start ups vacant land opportunities to use as temporary food gardens and provide assistance for startups. Work with other local, state, federal and city agencies to collaborate and assist with lower utility costs and overall support in financial sustainability.

7. Food Labor: How will you support food system workers? One in seven jobs in San Diego County is in the food system. These jobs include farm work, food processing, distribution, food service, and retail. The average wage of food system workers has increased at less than half the rate of wages across all sectors (at $24,693 annual). Most workers in the food system do not make a living wage for the high-cost region. How would you address these inequities? 

Answer: I would support living wage for all food workers in the County. Support and improve reimbursement wherever the County is purchaser.

8. Support for Food Entrepreneurs: How will you support food enterprise and entrepreneurs, particularly those who expand access to nutritious food in under-served areas? Food business opportunities abound to facilitate innovation and job creation with mobile vendors (food trucks and sidewalk pushcarts), neighborhood market owners, restaurateurs and micro-processors, distributors and others. How would you support the growth of the small and micro-enterprise food business sector? 

Answer: The County can be a leading incubator for farming and food workers by creating an eco-system connecting all aspects of food production and find methods to improve it through entrepreneurs.

9. Broad Vision for Supporting San Diegans: Please share your vision for supporting the needs of San Diego families. 

Answer: My vision would be better access to health and human services, economic development, reduction of homelessness,increased affordable housing, improved public safety and safety preparedness,