Category Archives: Uncategorized

A New Direction in Food Banking

A recent article on NPR’s The Salt blog highlights the work of Foodlink, a regional food bank in Rochester, NY, and their efforts to both alleviate poverty and provide healthier foods. Given investments the food bank made in food processing, in July 2014 they began purchasing apples from local farmers and then selling them washed, sliced, and packaged to local schools. The initiative was a hit with students and has allowed them to add staff and use the extra revenue for their after-school and summer meal programs.

Foodlink also provides fresh produce in the community through it’s Curbside Market, a traveling produce market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Coming in 2018 is a Community Kitchen Institute to help individuals with barriers to employment prepare for jobs in the food industry.

All of this points to a growing trend among food banks and other hunger relief organizations – a shift from solely focusing on food distribution to improving health and livelihoods.

‘Food Policy is Health Policy’ Summit

How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on American’s well-being than any other human activity. With that in mind, MU’s Center for Health Policy and Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition are teaming up to host the 15th Annual Missouri Healthy Policy Summit: Setting the Table for Success. Set for October 26-27 in Columbia, MO, the summit will feature nationally acclaimed experts Margo Wootan, Ricardo Salvador, and Alison Kodjak. A host of additional speakers and panelists will discuss the health implications of the Farm Bill, food consumption and health trends in Missouri, community and workplace initiatives, and a variety of other topics.

The early registration price of $100 runs through September 28, 2018. Students can register for free. Continuing education credits are available. Visit the conference website for more details.

Garden Smarter with The Garden Starter

A new Grow Well Missouri publication, The Garden Starter, covers the basics of gardening from seed to table. With tips on building, tending, and making the most of your garden, this booklet will help new gardeners feel more comfortable as they get started and give returning gardeners something new to think about. The Garden Starter also includes information on composting, raised bed gardening, and container gardening. As an added bonus, a removable Planting Calendar Centerfold is perfect for hanging in the kitchen, shed, or wherever garden planning is done. Download your free copy here.

Food Banks Becoming a Force for Change

Work of the Community Food Centres Canada is pointing the way for food banks and pantries interested doing more to improve health, build community, and address the root causes of hunger. A new publication, Beyond the Emergency: How to evolve your food bank into a force for changeshares advice, practical tips, and case studies to support groups wishing to create more impact. The chapters are framed by the Good Food Principles – an approach rooted in enhancing health, dignity, and equity in the charitable food system.

Emergency Food, Gardening, and Nutrition Education

A new publication by the Michigan Fitness Foundation titled Emergency Food, Gardening, and Nutrition Education: A Survey of Michigan Food Pantries highlights new findings from a statewide survey of emergency food providers. The report explores the opportunities and barriers faced by emergency food providers related to providing more fresh fruits and vegetables. It also gauges the willingness of providers to implement of specific changes to increase the availability and consumption of fresh produce. In total, the responses of 260 Michigan food pantries are included in the report.

Taking Stock of Missouri Food Pantries

Taking Stock, a series of regional reports published by Grow Well Missouri and the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security, provides analysis and discussion to better understand the ways in which the management and operations of food pantries can be enhanced. Based on a survey of 204 food pantry directors, the reports highlight some of the unique needs of food pantries in the areas of planning, communications, facilities, operations, and others. The reports also shed light on areas where food pantries excel.

Visit the Taking Stock webpage to find reports from the Harvesters-Community Food Network region (Kansas City metro), the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri region, the Southeast Missouri Food Bank region, and the Ozarks Food Harvest region (Southwest Missouri).

Grow Well Missouri 2017

Grow Well Missouri logo

Grow Well Missouri with start its fifth year in 2017 and plans to expand in to four to six new communities. The primary focus of the program is to establish food gardening programs that reach out to food pantry customers, helping them grow more of their own food and reap the many benefits of gardening. The program has a proven track record of success in the communities involved to date.

To learn more, visit the Grow Well Missouri webpage. The application process for new groups has closed. However, please contact Bill McKelvey at McKelveyWA [at] missouri [dot] edu to learn about becoming involved.

Grow Well Missouri is a program of the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security at the University of Missouri. Funding is provided in part by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Exploring Long-Term Food Pantry Use

Newly published research in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition highlights the struggles of long-term food pantry users. With data from three rounds of food pantry client interviews conducted in 2005, 2010, and 2013, Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security affiliates Michelle Kaiser and Anne Cafer found striking levels of food insecurity among long term food pantry users despite their participation in SNAP and other forms of federal support. The research demonstrates the unique and precarious position of those utilizing emergency food system services over a long period of time and the struggle they face to meet their everyday food needs. Visit the full article Exploring Long-term Food Pantry Use: Differences Between Persistent and Prolonged Typologies of Use for more information.

Missouri Hunger Atlas Documents Growing Hunger Problem

Hunger in Missouri continues to be a cause for concern. According to the newly updated Missouri Hunger Atlas, 7.9 percent of Missouri households struggle with hunger. An additional 8.9 percent of households report reducing the quality, variety, or desirability of their diets due to insufficient resources. In total, approximately 980,000 Missourians experience food insecurity at some point in the year.

Now in its 4th edition, the Missouri Hunger Atlas, published by the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security at MU, assesses the extent of food insecurity in the Missouri. It also gauges how well public programs are doing to address the need. Importantly, the Atlas presents a range of indicators related to food insecurity for each county in Missouri, including the city of St. Louis.

The entire Atlas can be downloaded for free on the Missouri Hunger Atlas 2016 webpage.

Missouri Poverty Summit Set for April 27

2016 Missouri Poverty Summit

Registration for the 2016 Missouri Poverty Summit is now open! Hosted by the Missourians to End Poverty, a nonpartisan coalition, the summit will unite Missourians to address the reality of poverty in the state. Join local leaders from across Missouri as they present best practices and proven solutions to lift people out of poverty. The summit will take place on April 27 in Jefferson City, MO at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Registration information is available at