Research at a NEK Grocery Store is Part of a Whole Region's Learning

Over 7 million Northeast citizens are food insecure.  Low-income communities are also disproportionately affected by lack of access to healthy, affordable foods.  Families in those communities face many barriers to achieving food security.  Additional challenges to food security also come from climate change, farmland loss, and sourcing most of our food from outside the region, and these affect everyone in the region. 

The Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast (EFSNE) project is a USDA-funded Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) exploration of determine whether greater reliance on regionally produced food could improve food access in low-income communities, while also benefiting farmers, food supply chain firms and others in the food system.  As an integrated project, it includes research, outreach and education.

Teams have focused on low-income community sites within the Northeast (defined as 12 states from Maine to West Virginia and the District of Columbia).  The research focal point is a full-diet market basket of eight foods that are or can be produced or processed in the Northeast states in significant quantities.  (These are milk, bread, ground beef, potatoes, apples, cabbage, canned peaches and frozen broccoli.)

UVM's role has been Dr. Berlin's participation in the Consumption, Outreach and Education Teams.  She joins colleagues from Columbia University, Cornell University, Delaware State University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Penn State University, Tufts University, USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Economic Research service and West Virginia State University. 

The Journal for Agriculture, Food Systems & Community Development has published three initial articles about elements of the research, with more coming.


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