Tag Archives: food pantry

Healthy Shelves Hits the Shelves

Healthy Shelves Cover

A new publication by the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security, Healthy Shelves: Promoting and enhancing good nutrition in food pantries, was released in January 2015. This 24 page booklet offers tips and strategies for linking food pantries and community partners to get healthier food onto the shelves of pantries and into the homes of food pantry customers. With strategies based on more than two years of field work, the guide highlights nutrition improvement activities in the areas of Food Availability and Access, Food Consumption, Food Pantry Capacity and Development, and Food Acquisition and Distribution. Personal stories highlight the innovative work of pantry directors and partners committed to improving community health.

The complete booklet including supplemental materials can be downloaded from the Healthy Shelves home page. For more information, contact Bill McKelvey at McKelveyWA@missouri.edu.

Healthy Shelves

Promoting and Enhancing Good Nutrition in Food Pantries

Healthy Shelves Cover Publication (PDF)

This new publication from the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security dives into the topic of food pantry nutrition. Based on more than two years of working closely with food pantries in central Missouri, the guide offers a number of creative and promising approaches to getting healthier foods in to food pantries and on the tables of food pantry customers.

The resource highlights nutrition improvement strategies in four different areas – Food Availability and Access, Food Consumption, Food Pantry Capacity and Development, and Food Acquisition and Distribution. It also spotlights the work of people and organizations making it happen.

Healthy Shelves can be downloaded here.

Additional resources that accompany the guide can be found at the links below:

Contact Bill McKelvey, McKelveyWA@missouri.edu, for more information.

This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant No. 2010-85216-20645 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Human Nutrition and Obesity Program – 93330.

Food Bank Conference Brings Allies Together

hunger gap conf logoLooking for ways to engage food banks and anti-hunger allies in a meaningful dialogue about long-term solutions to hunger, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona hosted the inaugural Closing the Hunger Gap conference in Tucson in 2013. Sessions featured innovative organizations that incorporate nutrition education, community organizing, policy, economic development, and local food production into their work. Discussions centered on the root causes of hunger and tangible ways food banks can work together to address the most pressing issues and needs of their clients. The conference concluded with an action planning session to build momentum for ongoing work and collaboration among attendees.

To keep posted or become involved, check out the conference materials and updates on the Closing the Hunger Gap website and Facebook page. The next conference will be held in Tacoma, WA, September 11-13, 2017.

Summer Field Research Begins

The start of summer 2013 marks the third year in which Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security faculty and staff have gone to the field to hear the voices of people using food pantries in central and northeast Missouri. This large research project will gather data from approximately 1200 food pantry clients in 32 counties through in-depth personal interviews. The data will be used to look at a variety of challenges faced by households. The ultimate goals are to help people lead healthy and productive lives and give policy makers, agency professionals, and service providers information to develop and deliver solutions to deal with hunger and food insecurity.

More information about the research can be found on the Missouri Food Pantry Client Research page of our website.

Grow Well Missouri

grow well missouri logoGrow Well Missouri partners with food pantries, local organizations, and volunteers to establish food gardening programs that reach out to food pantry customers. By offering a selection of seeds, vegetable transplants, educational materials, and one-on-one advice, Grow Well Missouri helps those who use food pantries reap the many benefits of gardening.

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.

Now in its fifth year, Grow Well Missouri is active with many partners across the state. Lead agencies include:

Shelby County Food Pantry (Shelbina), St. James Caring Center, Help Center (Mexico), Central Pantry (Columbia), Cargill Cares Food Pantry (California), Neighbors Helping Neighbors (Boonville), Crosslines (Joplin), Share the Harvest (Greenview), Hickory County C.A.R.E.S. (Wheatland), Dallas County Neighborhood Center (Buffalo),  Community Outreach Ministries (Bolivar), Master Gardeners of Greene County (Springfield), Shepherd’s Nook Food Pantry (Salem), Good Samaritan of the Ozarks (Waynesville), Randolph County Caring Communities (Moberly), Independent Living Center (Joplin), Willard School District/Community Food Pantry, the Morgan County Health Center (Versailles), Macon County Ministries, Schuyler County Food Room (Lancaster), Holts Summit Food Pantry, Helping Hands of Central Missouri (St. Elizabeth), and Tiger Pantry (Columbia).

Beyond Gardening

Grow Well Missouri goes beyond gardening. It builds community capacity by helping groups establish community gardens, initiate healthy food education, and leverage resources to meet their goals. It also works to assess the strengths of food pantries and develop tools to increase learning and sharing among agencies across Missouri.

The project is supported by a host of additional partners including the Health Communication Research Center, the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, University of Missouri Extension, local Master Gardener and Garden Club groups, and Feeding Missouri. Private companies including St. Louis CompostingMorgan County Seeds, and Strawberry Hill Farms provide support as well.

To learn more about the impact Grow Well Missouri is making, see our evaluation results from the 2016 gardening season. Contact Bill McKelvey, Grow Well Missouri Project Coordinator, at McKelveyWA [at] missouri [dot] edu for more information.


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.


A host of educational materials are available on the Grow Well Missouri Resources page. Also check out our new publication, The Garden Starter.


Newsmaker — Grow Well Missouri helps local families (KMZU, 100.7 FM)
Food pantries help patrons grow their own produce (Harvest Public Media)
Grow Well Missouri: Helping a Rural Community Through Gardening (MU HCRC)
From the Ground Up: Grow Well helps with food insecurity and lack of healthy choices (CAFNR News)
MU to Help Foster Food Pantry Capacity, Education in Rural Missouri (MU News Bureau)
Better Food Choices, CAFNR team collaborates to improve food pantry nutrition  (CAFNR News)
Partnering for Improved Nutrition: MU interdisciplinary team works to improve nutrition and access to healthy foods (CAFNR News)