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MSU Extension Receives Federal Funding
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Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) is part of a network of university Extension services that were awarded $4 million to tackle food security challenges and help enhance nutritious food choices in rural communities.


Source: Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Becky Henne at henner@msu.edu or 517-543-4468

Michigan State University Receives Federal Funding to Address Food Security


Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) is part of a network of university Extension services that were awarded $4 million to tackle food security challenges and help enhance nutritious food choices in rural communities.

The grants were announced at a news conference at South Dakota State University earlier this week by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. She announced $75 million in research grants going to 21 universities throughout the United States. All the grants will fund work aiming to end hunger and address food security challenges.

Researchers from MSUE, along with the Extension services from South Dakota State University, Purdue University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Missouri-Columbia and Ohio State University were awarded $4 million of that $75 million total.

For the next five years, the six states – Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota -- will be working to identify solutions to address food security challenges and nutritious food choices in rural communities.

“Our overall focus is to develop viable solutions that rural communities can adopt to address challenges that their residents face in accessing affordable and nutritious food,” said Becky Henne, MSUE educator and grant director at MSU. “We will work with food policy councils, community coaching, nutrition education and a choice food pantry model to determine best practices for improving food security.”

Select communities in each of the states will receive assistance in forming or enhancing food policy councils that will increase accessibility and availability of nutritious food. The councils may set up food pantries or change the way that existing food pantries operate, Henne said. The project, called Voices for Food, will serve as a guide for communities throughout the United States wishing to address food security.

The Voices for Food kits will include tools for forming food policy councils, implementing guided client choice food pantries and integrating nutrition education resources at food pantries. Henne explains that guided client choice food pantries allow clients to choose the foods they will use rather than supplying them with predetermined selections.

“Millions of American households lack the resources to access sufficient food, and many of those, including our children, may go hungry at least once this year,” Merrigan said. “The grants announced today will help policymakers and others better recognize the food and nutrition needs of low-income communities in our country while improving the productivity of our nation’s agriculture to meet those needs. Globally, the population is expected to grow by more than 2 billion people by 2050. By investing in the science of America’s renowned land-grant universities, we aim to find sustainable solutions to help systems expand to meet the demands of growing populations.”

To contact an Extension expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu/, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).