Fact Sheet Leveraging State and Local Partnerships to Increase Access to Fresh Foods
West Virginia University
Sofia Hinojosa, Catherine Kuhns
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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. West Virginia University (WVU), one of the 11 grantees, used a multilayered place-based approach to increase access to locally grown produce and nutrition education in over 50 communities across 12 counties in West Virginia.

Key features of the initiative included connecting community members to sources of fresh, local produce, developing and implementing a 15-week produce prescription program that offered fresh produce to residents with chronic health conditions, offering a stipend for children to purchase fruits and vegetables, and doubling or tripling the value of SNAP benefits for produce at existing farmers’ markets. We found that place-based strategies that bring healthy foods within the community’s reach—especially for rural communities that face barriers to accessing healthy food due to inequitable transportation or limited affordable food vendors—can ameliorate some barriers to rural communities’ food access.

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 West Virginia
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