In 2000, faculty and students at the University of Missouri (MU) established the Missouri Action Research Connection, a social action research group that partnered with community organizations to help answer research questions to better accomplish the organizations’ goals. Among the partners was the Central Missouri Food Bank (CMFB) Pantry (now known as the Central Pantry), which needed help in finding a new location and learning more about its clients to better meet their nutritional needs. As a result of this early engagement, a group of faculty and students coalesced around food security issues.
In 2004, the group formally organized as the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security. Faculty representing three colleges and four departments (Rural Sociology, Sociology, Geography, and Nutritional Sciences) successfully applied for the center’s first competitive grant in 2005. With funding from the University of Missouri Research Board, the center completed one of the largest regional food pantry client household surveys in the country, interviewing more than 1300 clients in the CMFB’s (now the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri) 29-county region. Over the years, the faculty and students affiliated with the center has evolved, along with the center’s projects. The center is currently housed in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
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