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May 12, 2011

Un. of MO Study - Availability of Local Food Key to Improving Food Security

CSA - Community Supported
Agriculture program.  Photo courtesy
of Local Harvest
On 9 May 2011, ScienceDaily reported on a study by Michelle Kaiser, a researcher at the University of Missouri that concluded that regularly availability of local, fresh and healthy food is the key to food security.

Kaiser's food security research, published in the Journal of Community Practice states that helping the hunger is not just about creating food banks and providing food stamps.  These are only short-term solutions.  The long-term answer to resolving hunger and poverty is to access to adequate fresh and healthy foods that are locally grown.

Kaiser is a researcher at the University of Missouri, College of Human Environmental Sciences, School of Social Work.  She believes that the fundamental issue is that "access to food is a human right. People should be able to get healthy food consistently; access to healthy food will benefit the health of the environment and the people consuming it."

Access to affordable and healthy food is both a rural and urban problem.  In the rural areas, "many people live miles from the nearest store, and this makes them less likely to buy fresh, perishable foods because they buy groceries less often. In urban areas, many people buy their food from restaurants or convenience stores, where nutritious food is scarce."

Kaiser's policy recommendations include:

"•Farmers sponsor community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and ask consumers to purchase shares of their harvests prior to the growing season. Each week, consumers receive portions of seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs.  The current problem is that CSAs can not accept governmental assistance (food stamps) so consumers directly purchase shares of the harvest rather than food.

• People need to support community and personal gardens everywhere and anywhere they can - from rooftops to apartment complexes. Policy makers should incentivize schools and communities to convert empty lots and plant. 

•Community food assessments (CFA) are tools to define food-related issues including availability of fresh food, prices of foods, transportation to stores and more. Policy makers and local coalitions can use CFAs to better understand how to improve their community's food situation."

For more see: "Availability of Local Food Key to Improving Food Security," ScienceDaily, 9 May 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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