WE NEED YOUR HELP Strengthen the Community Food Web

Strengthen the Community Food Web
Black Hawk County, Iowa
“...I see the negative effects
that poor nutrition and obesity
have on my patients. This report
not only identifies the scope of
our local problems but also gives
concrete strategies to address
the issues. Disease prevention
is the answer; this is a start.
Our whole community should
rally to support this effort.”
– Robert Friedman, MD, Board of Health
member and practicing physician
The challenges are great in Black Hawk County. Obesity and diet-related
chronic disease rates continue to rise, while the health of Iowans is further
threatened by the lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. A better
understanding of our local assets and gaps can help us change the world
right here in Black Hawk County. During 2014, the Black Hawk County Board
of Health, in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa Center for
Energy and Environmental Education, conducted an assessment of the food
system to ensure all Iowans have equal access to nutritious food, now and
in the future.
The Black Hawk County Board of Health identified food system priorities
that center on childhood obesity, adult obesity, and decreasing food insecurity1
for persons living at household poverty levels:
1. Increase fruits & vegetable access and consumption among youth.
2. Increase fruits & vegetable access and consumption among adults.
3. Reduce food insecurity and increase access to nutritious food.
Strengthening the local food economy in our region is one of many approaches
to addressing these critical needs. We are looking for community leaders and
organizations who wish to work together to fully address these priorities.
See the back page for more details.
1 Food insecurity is defined as, “Not knowing where your next meal is coming from.”
Your neighbor or
co-worker could be:
• one of 19,000+ people in Black
Hawk County who do not know
where their next meal is coming
from (6,000 of them are children).
• one of every two students
enrolled in Black Hawk County
schools who meet eligibility
for the free and reduced lunch
program (over a seven year
period, 2006-2013, eligibility
increased by 32%).
• one of 17,000 people with limited
access to fruits and vegetables
(defined as distance to grocery
stores or farmers markets and
ability to pay).
Food Banks
Farmers Markets
Meat Lockers
We need your involvement to help implement these strategies:
1. Increase fruits & vegetable
access and consumption
among youth
Improve school meals through farm-to-school programming by organizing a
Cedar Valley work group of school district leadership and community stakeholders
to take action in response to the childhood obesity epidemic. This work group will
focus on offering more nutritious, fresh schools meals and hands on instruction
about healthy food, gardening and cooking.
2. Increase fruits & vegetable
access and consumption
among adults
Implement an evidence-based program, such as Double Up Food Bucks,
to encourage families enrolled in food assistance programs to purchase freshly
grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets where they earn a dollar for
every dollar spent. The consumer’s incentive will be used to purchase additional
produce at any local farmers market. This strategy promotes access to nutritious
foods, reduces food insecurity and stimulates our local economy. Learn more
about this program at www.doubleupfoodbucks.org.
3. Reduce food insecurity
and increase access to
nutritious food
The Northeast Iowa Food Bank exists to reduce food waste and ensure the
people have access to an adequate supply of food. However, the food insecurity
rate is still high, with 1 in 6 people lacking access to an adequate supply of food.
This can be improved by acquiring more donors to donate food product and
continuing to educate the public on the issues of hunger and food insecurity.
Strengthening the community food web through gardening, cooking, gleaning,
and other strategies will help help improve access to good food.
Join the campaign to build support around nutritious food
and promote a thriving community in Black Hawk County!
To see the full action plan, visit www.uni.edu/ceee/foodaccess.
To get involved, contact:
Kamyar Enshayan
UNI Local Food Program
kamyar.enshayan@uni.edu or (319) 273-7575