What is Voices for Food?
Voices for Food is a project that aims to enhance food security by developing or strengthening existing Food Councils and supporting the council in assisting food pantries with improving the quality and variety of foods offered.
Who is Involved?
A food council is a collaboration of community stakeholders within the food system as well as its partners such as Educators, Public Health Professionals, Economic Developers, Government Officials, Transportation, Culture and Community Groups, and Community Foundations. A food council serves as a forum for food issues and can increase the availability of, and access to nutritious food, which in turn can improve food security in rural high poverty communities.
A community coach, or "guide on this side" is also a part of this project. They are someone who engages the community in the process of moving from ideas to sustainable actions; asks questions seeding clarification and makes suggestions based on the answers; provides training, guidance and friendly accountability; identifies next steps for the group; provides an outside perspective and helps keep the group on track; and connects the group to outside resources.
Where is it Taking Place?
Six states are involved in this project, so it has the opportunity for large impact, as the results will be disseminated broadly and the activities may be a model for other communities. South Dakota State University is the lead institution on the grant.
Why is this Project Happening?
The overarching goal of this project is to facilitate engaged dialogue and dynamic links by promoting food security within the food system, especially among low-income and food insecure populations. Food security is access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity exists whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain. U.S. household food insecurity is currently at 14.3% and Wabash County estimates are at 14.1%. Food insecurity is associated with lower diet quality and poorer health outcomes, such as chronic disease. This project seeks to create access and availability to nutritionally adequate and safe foods for the insecure population.
How Will it be Accomplished?
Voices for Food will span until 2017. The research study will be complete with the help and participation of the community. A food council requires the participation of interested food system partners and actors. Data collection throughout the project is also planned, and food council members are encouraged to participate.