More information needs to be shared on food sharing ordinance

Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
June 5, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City City Council is planning to share more information.

First District At-Large representative Scott Wagner asked the city council to table a vote until next week on Ordinance number 140412, also known as the food sharing ordinance. The decision was made at Thursday’s city council meeting after Wagner answered numerous questions and gave a presentation during the city’s business session that preceded the meeting.

“We want to dispel any rumors about the ordinance,” Wagner told the council. Wagner also asked the ordinance be placed on the Neighborhoods, Housing and Healthy Communities agenda next week for another presentation and to open the floor to questions from the community about the ordinance.

“The ordinance would not go back to the [Public Safety and Emergency Services] Committee for a vote since it has already been passed,” Wagner said, adding the presentation will be for those who need more education. “Hopefully, people who attend will walk away with a better understanding of what we’re trying to do. What we’ll probably do is a bullet presentation on what the ordinance does and what it doesn’t do. There’s been a lot of misinformation that we want to correct.”

According to the fact sheet on the ordinance, the purpose of it is to protect those who receive food from shelters and community organizations. The ordinance would regulate food sharing groups by ensuring they have an inspected kitchen, safeguard public health and provide food that is safe to consume. The ordinance creates a new permit called “food sharing permits” and requires those sharing with those because of food insecurity — a lack of consistent resources to acquire food — to label their food and provide trash cans at distribution sites. There is no cost to acquiring a food sharing permit.

George Arnold and Richard Tripp, both with Care of Poor People Kansas City, attended Thursday’s council meeting with signs reading “No food sharing permits needed.” Both said even though the goal of the council is more education, they still have more questions than answers.

“We would have liked two [weeks] but we’ll get the forces together and attend the presentation,” Arnold said.