NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Cooley Dickinson Health Care received a $555,555 grant to improve regional food insecurity and address a systemic lack of access to healthy food.

According to a news release sent to 22News, Cooley Dickinson Health Care received the funding from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission’s Moving Massachusetts Upstream (MassUP) investment program to develop a Hampshire County Food Policy Council.

MassUP supports partnerships between health care providers and community organizations to enable sustainable improvements in community health and health equity.

Cooley Dickinson will partner with the following three local agencies:

“We are inspired by what this funding will enable us to do to improve the lives of local residents at risk for food insecurity,” said Cooley Dickinson President and CEO Joanne Marqusee.

“The creation of a Hampshire County Food Policy Council with a coalition of partners that have worked for years together to advance community food security in Hampshire County and the comprehensive, countywide strategic plan we will jointly develop will help us address food insecurity which is one of the key social determinants of health.”

Caitlin Marquis, Healthy Hampshire Coordinator of Collaborative of Educational Services said in the news release that the funding will provide opportunities for residents experiencing food insecurity to assume leadership positions as part of the new council.

Cooley Dickinson Health Care is one of four MassUp program awardees. Cooley Dickinson’s parent organization, Massachusetts General Hospital, also received funding to support upstream approaches to economic stability and mobility in the Boston-area cities of Chelsea and Revere.

Cooley Dickinson and its partners expect to begin planning and implementing programs this fall.