WASHINGTON and CHICAGO (April 09, 2019) – Millions of Americans struggle with food insecurity. To help food assistance agencies provide consistent access to nutritious food, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions Grant to Feeding America. This grant will evaluate the Regional Produce Cooperative model’s effectiveness in reducing food insecurity. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from Target, the University of Illinois, the Rachel Ray Foundation and Feeding America for a total $2 million investment.
“We are very excited about our new partnership with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” says Matt Knott, President of Feeding America. “This grant opportunity directly aligns with Feeding America’s strategy to increase access to nutritious food and reduce food insecurity through innovative distribution models which expand access to fresh produce in an effort to improve nutrition and support better health outcomes for people facing hunger.”
Feeding America established Regional Produce Cooperatives in 2017 to direct a greater variety of produce to food banks at a lower cost. Currently, seven Regional Produce Cooperatives are operating nationally, and there is a growing demand for more. While the cooperatives have the potential to improve the quantity, variety and quality of food at food banks, Feeding America has not yet conducted rigorous evaluations to determine the program’s overall effectiveness.
FFAR’s grant will help Feeding America examine the effect of the Regional Produce Cooperative on the charitable food system. The research will use surveys and data analysis to determine the extent to which the Cooperatives decrease food waste, shorten the time between source and distribution, and increase access to produce. Ultimately, the goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of Regional Produce Cooperatives to increase consumption of nutritious produce and decrease food insecurity.
“FFAR’s work aims to provide everyone access to nutritious food. Too many suffer from food insecurity nationwide,” said Sally Rockey, FFAR’s executive director. “This research has the potential to deliver significant, real-world results that will positively impact the lives of those struggling to put dinner on the table.”
FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address pressing food and agriculture issues and further research in one of FFAR’s Challenge Areas. Feeding America’s research furthers FFAR’s 2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area, now the Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge area, which supports reducing food and nutritional insecurity in a broad socioeconomic and environmental context.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.
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