Evaluating Community Food Security in Kent County

Community Data & Research Lab at the Johnson Center   (Grand Rapids)

December 2006

Community food security initiatives may, over the long term, increase the economic resources available to households to purchase food; strengthen local capacity for food production, processing, and marketing; and boost the effectiveness of federal food assistance and education programs, thereby increasing the availability of high-quality, affordable food within a community.

The purpose of this evaluation was to assess community food security using data from individual households. Other issues were also examined, including the local need for food assistance, transportation barriers, the health and wellness continuum, and availability of nutritious food.

The evaluation provides benchmark data and information regarding food utilization reported by participants in five focus groups. Surveys were also used to examine the food security system in Kent County and retail food stores were visited to record prices using the USDA Thrifty Food Plan (Cohen, 2002), which calculates the cost of groceries for a family of four for a week.

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