Hunger Innovation Fellowship

Ending Food Insecurity: It Will Take Us All

Food insecurity means not having enough food to live a healthy, active life. Food insecurity forces households to choose between housing costs, medicine, and nutritious meals. These choices mean sacrificing health and quality of life in order to meet essential living expenses. It’s an unspoken problem affecting thousands including seniors, post-secondary students, and working families who are often overlooked as groups challenged by food insecurity.

Local organizations are making extraordinary contributions that deserve support to elevate and accelerate their efforts to end food insecurity for all. In 2018, the Hunger Innovation Fellowship was funded to provide social, intellectual, and financial capital to research opportunities for systems-level change within Jefferson County, Kentucky’s food ecosystem, which could help elevate and accelerate current efforts to end food insecurity. This webpage now gathers together results of research undertaken by the 2018 Hunger Innovation Fellow, Monique Kuykendoll Quarterman. By making these resources easily accessible to the entire Jefferson County community, we hope through education that people are empowered to form cross-sector partnerships utilizing our collective ideas, energy, and resources.

Ensuring everyone has enough to eat will require action from individuals and organizations across every sector of our community. Having enough food to live an active, productive life should be everyone’s reality. We all can be part of the solution. This initiative is supported by the Lift a Life Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville.

How is Louisville Responding to the Need?

“Ending Food Insecurity: It Will Take Us All” is the result of an ongoing partnership with local food leaders with input from the Hunger Innovation Fellowship advisory council. The document 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 consider some next steps. Although the work represents a study of Jefferson County, the solutions that grow from it can positively impact regional residents. Please download the report.

Who Experiences Food Insecurity?

More persistent and widespread than once believed, food insecurity affects 120,100 Louisvillians, including 1 in 6 Louisville children. It extends beyond poverty. Our survey of 200 local respondents, conducted by IQS Research in April 2018, found that while 32% of those surveyed were in poverty, or at risk of experiencing poverty, 53% of all participants had experienced some or regular food insecurity in the past year. Food insecurity affects not only the income-poor. Food insecurity also impacts the 44,000 Louisville residents living in food deserts, the 20,000 seniors living a mile or more from their nearest supermarket, and many post-secondary students making difficult choices about where and how to access food day-to-day.

The Language of Food Insecurity

A shared vocabulary across sectors is critical for us to understand and tackle food insecurity. Partners speaking from a shared understanding can make greater strides together. Start here to learn the language of food insecurity.

Barriers Remain

Ongoing local efforts to combat food insecurity have been significant. Many organizations gather resources and provide these resources to food insecure individuals and families. Still, barriers remain, including barriers to affordability, access, and awareness. We believe that those who are unserved or underserved by local resources remain so due to unfamiliar information, inconsistent eligibility, inconvenient resources, or inadequate treatment. Some may even avoid using food support serves because they perceive these services are not meant for them. Many local organizations are addressing these barriers by combing their resources.

What Are Our Next Steps?

It will take us all to make even greater strides towards eliminating barriers to nutritious food. We hope people will use the resources found on this website to think about possible actions and develop partnerships that will put ideas into actions.

Lift a Life Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville are eager to build on the work of the Hunger Innovation Fellowship to promote systems-level innovation. We are committed to adding to the extensive and valued work currently underway in our community. We will continue to receive input from multiple sectors of our local food ecosystem as we evaluate the best way to support our community in providing food for everyone.

  • Where Is Local Help? Discover food pantries, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and other food providers and how they relate to income-poor ZIP Codes.
  • How are Laws Helping? Federal, state, and local laws can impact how people access nutritious food. Learn about some of these.
  • Do You Want to Know What’s Working Elsewhere? National efforts and local success stories can motivate us to try something different.