Ending Food Insecurity: It Will Take Us All

“Imagine having to choose between food, rent, and health care because your ZIP code doesn’t allow for affordable, accessible options,” said Susan Barry, President & CEO, Community Foundation of Louisville. “This is the cruelty of disparity, but we believe innovation and collaboration can disrupt this cruelty. We are providing resources to drive change.”

At the Foundation we believe that everyone has the right to have access to adequate food to live a healthy life; however, we know it is not a reality in all of our communities. Committed to closing the gap on disparity, we know there must be a better understanding of the complexities of food insecurity in order to encourage our community to link together to better address the problem.

On November 16, 2018, the Lift a Life Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville released Ending Food Security: It Will Take Us All, a report summarizing the work of the 2018 Hunger Innovation Fellow, Monique Kuykendoll Quarterman. The report is accompanied by a web-based information portal connecting Jefferson County, Kentucky residents to local, state, and national resources that can help elevate and accelerate local efforts to end food insecurity. Together, the report and website make available information which educates and empowers people to form cross-sector partnerships where ideas, energies, and resources are focused on eliminating food insecurity.

At the start of 2018, the Foundations collaborated to fund and develop the Hunger Innovation Fellowship to provide social, intellectual, human, and financial capital to research opportunities for systems-level change within Jefferson County’s food ecosystem. The 2018 Hunger Innovation Fellow conducted this research over several months. Ending Food Insecurity: It Will Take Us All and the Hunger Innovation Fellowship website now present the Fellowship’s findings in one easy, accessible location.

The work is the result of an ongoing partnership with local food leaders with input from the Hunger Innovation Fellowship advisory council. The report summarizes statistics from local, regional, and national sources. It includes responses from interviews and surveys reflecting community voices. Readers can become familiar with local efforts addressing barriers to access food as well as begin to consider next steps. Although the work represents a study of Jefferson County, the solutions that grow from it can positively impact regional residents.

“The Lift a Life Foundation is an advocate for improving access to nutritious food for individuals and families throughout our city,” said Ashley Butler, Executive Director of the Lift a Life Foundation. “Monique’s work has highlighted successful local efforts while challenging us to expand our thinking on ways to move forward.”

As a part of the resources, Quarterman developed the Louisville Food Ecosystem Map, which shows efforts to address hunger by geography. Ownership of the Louisville Food Ecosystem Map will be transferred to Family Scholar House to allow for continued maintenance, management, and implementation. It will compliment Family Scholar House’s existing LouieConnect mobile resource project. Quarterman’s online tool will be integral for Family Scholar House’s HEROES Initiative, which is providing support to 20,000 new heads of households in the areas of health, education, resilience, opportunity, and economic success.

The website also includes downloadable documents, data, and policy information. The hope is that residents and organizations will be inspired through the information to form partnerships that will drive lasting change. One such partnership has already formed between Family Scholar House and the foundations.

“The past several months of researching the complexities of food insecurity in Louisville have been eye-opening,” said Quarterman, 2018 Hunger Innovation Fellow. “I stand as an ally with our community in taking additional steps to provide healthy, nutritious food for every Louisvillian.  It is a daunting task, but together, we can make Louisville a healthier, more food-accessible place – I invite you to join us.”