Tag Archives: health

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.

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)