Fact Sheet Building More Equitable and Reliable Access to Fresh Food in Maine
St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine
Catherine Kuhns, Sofia Hinojosa
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In 2020, the Walmart Foundation awarded grants to 11 community-based projects offering innovative approaches to supporting healthy food access. The grants focused on initiatives that improve access to fresh foods for regions and populations experiencing disproportionately high rates of food insecurity. The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, one of the 11 grantees, focused on increasing equitable and reliable access to fresh food by building the capacity of existing programs and enhancing cooperation among existing initiatives to better meet Lewiston-Auburn, Maine’s needs.

Key features of the initiative included running a food pantry, hiring residents of the Somali, Djiboutian, and Sudanese communities to conduct outreach within their communities to improve communication with groups whose primary language may not be English, and holding community listening sessions to share decisionmaking power with people in the community. We found that food-access initiatives that center community choice and voice could support local organizations in matching services to communities’ needs.

Research Areas Social safety net
Tags Emergency food networks Food insecurity and hunger Hunger and food assistance
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Health Policy Center Research to Action Lab
Research Methods Qualitative data analysis
States Maine
Cities Lewiston-Auburn, ME
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