March 14, 2013 -
Although Knoxville was not selected as one of the five winning cities in Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge, Mayor Madeline Rogero has promised to continue working on the "Urban Food Corridor" program outlined in Knoxville's submission for the award. Earlier this week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that the $5 million grand prize in the Mayors Challenge would go to Providence, R.I., with $1 million awards going to four other cities: Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica, Calif.
"Knoxville was honored to be one of 20 finalist cities from more than 300 that entered," Mayor Rogero said. "It was a great opportunity for us to think creatively about some long-term challenges, and I really appreciate all the support and encouragement we received from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Of course it is disappointing not to win, but we have already begun discussions with our local partners in this proposal to find other ways to put the program in place."
The Urban Food Corridor would create working farms on formerly blighted properties in Knoxville's center-city neighborhoods, providing locally-grown produce to stores and restaurants as well as to residents of areas that often lack affordable, accessible healthy food. The Knox County Health Department and the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council have been important partners in developing the concept.
"We designed this proposal so that the initial parts of it can be put in place by the City even without outside funding," said Susanna Sutherland, who oversaw the Mayors Challenge application as director of the City's Office of Sustainability. "We will begin work on those pieces, and we will also be looking for other possible sources of support."
You can read a column by Mayor Rogero about the Urban Food Corridor proposal and watch a video about it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/madeline-rogero.