Food Pantry Nutrition Project
The Food Pantry Nutrition Project works to enhance healthy food access and education in food pantries. The project stems from ongoing research of the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security showing that rates of chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol) are significantly higher among food pantry clients than the general public.
Initiated in 2011 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the project is now entering its third year with funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health. As the project moves forward, key activities include
- Formation of Wellness Groups at food pantries to identify high priority health and nutrition needs and develop strategies to address those needs.
- Gardening education in combination with the distribution of garden seeds and other supplies to food pantry clients to support the expansion and development of home and community gardens.
- Development of a Peer to Peer network of food pantry directors, staff, and volunteers to increase learning and sharing among groups across Missouri.
The first two agencies enrolled in the project are the Shelby County Food Pantry and St. James Caring Center. The project is supported by a host of partners including the Health Communication Research Center, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, University of Missouri Extension, and the Missouri Food Bank Association.
Below are samples of best and promising practices developed by the Food Pantry Nutrition Project over the past two years. They are designed to help food pantries and partnering organizations and agencies to initiate nutrition and health improvement activities on their own. To provide feedback about any of these materials, please feel free to contact us with comments or questions.
- Healthy Food Drives
- Seeds that Feed (distribution of garden seeds and information)
- Donating Produce from Farms and Gardens
- Harvesting and Handling Produce
- SNAP at Farmers Markets
- Microwave Recipes
- Incredible Eggs
MU to Help Foster Food Pantry Capacity, Education in Rural Missouri (MU News Bureau)
Funding for this project is provided in part by the Missouri Foundation for Health. The Missouri Foundation for Health is a philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves.