Pre-session Reading Materials

Session One

  • Definition of Food Security: A good introduction to Session One is to understand the USDA definition of Food Security.
  • United Way ALICE Reports: Lack of Food Security, insufficient money to buy food to meet nutritional needs, results from a complex relationship with other household expenses such as costs for housing, transportation, healthcare, childcare, etc.  The United Way Asset Limited Income-Constrained Employed (ALICE) report by county is provided for reference and to explain the complex relationship between costs of necessities for living and ability to afford food. The full ALICE report also provides an overview of this data collection process and results.
  • Michigan County Self Sufficiency Standard: The Self Sufficiency Standard for each county in Michigan is also a new very detailed way at looking at these family costs. The Self Sufficiency Standard is being piloted in 38 states as a replacement for the Poverty Measure. Eligibility for food assistance is currently dependent upon an applicant’s income measured against the Poverty Measure. The Poverty Measure is decades old and not considered a very accurate way of assessing need. Advocates hope to replace the Poverty Measure with the Self Sufficiency Standard which gives very detailed regional information on local costs of living.

Session Two

Session Three

  • MiThrive Outcomes Framework: Over 100 cross-sector community partners have come together to unite around a shared vision for Northwest Michigan where everyone has equitable opportunities to live healthy and thriving lives. A Shared Outcomes Framework is a best practice tool to communicate our shared community priorities and to track our progress toward our goals, allowing for continuous improvement in the pursuit of equity. The framework includes time-bound targets for six priority areas, themed within three system elements, and specifies metrics we can use to determine whether we’re on track for meeting our goals. These six priority areas emerged from numerous community datasets, including a shared data collection process that elevated the voice of thousands of residents and service providers in Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Antrim counties. By clarifying our shared priorities and desired outcomes in this framework, we aim to help answer the questions: what are we collectively working toward as a Northwest Michigan community, and how will we know if we’re making progress?
  • 2019 MiThrive Community Health Assessment Report (pdf): These are the findings from the 2019 Community Health Assessment. The Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region (NMCHIR) aligned with MiThrive to complete a comprehensive assessment of needs in Northern Michigan communities. This report pinpoints the most pressing health issues in our communities and describes what more can be done to improve the well-being and health equity in the 10-county region. Over 150 organizations participated in some aspect of the Community Health Assessment process. Data were collected by gathering existing statistics, listening to residents, learning from groups of community organizations, and surveying healthcare providers. The goals for the planning process include Cross-Sector Collaboration and Community Voice.
  • MiThrive Outcomes Framework Webisode #1: This video describes the process and strategic goals of the MiThrive Outcomes Framework.
  • DMARC Annual Report: Des Moines Area Religious Council’s (DMARC’s) most recent annual report, which shares more about them and who they are.
  • DMARC’s Data Use: Two articles about DMARC’s use of data:

Session Four

Session Five

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Examining the Evidence to Define Benefit Adequacy: This article provides an overview of the book, including the history, background, and goals of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). The article describes the values and motivations behind the program’s inception, and highlights changes over time, including to eligibility criteria.

Food & Agriculture Policy Collaborative Report: The Food and Agriculture Collaborative, funded through the national Convergence Partnership, works closely with local partners to advance healthy food production, supply chains, and consumer access and equity priorities. Through this partnership with the Food Research Action Center (FRAC), National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Policy Link, Fair Food Network has succeeded in increasing understanding of the components of healthy and fair food systems. The 2014 Farm Bill provided communities tools to improve access to healthy, affordable food while also stimulating local economic activity.  This Building Healthy Communities guide provides practical and actionable information about USDA programs you can use to develop strong projects.  The Guide explains how USDA food policy and programs fit together and collectively can:

  • Protect and strengthen the structure, eligibility rules and benefit levels in the SNAP program
  • Start and increase produce incentive programs for SNAP participants
  • Build and improve healthy food stores and supply chains through Healthy Food Financing Initiatives
  • Strengthen marketing opportunities and supply chain infrastructure that connects growers and eaters

The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of national foundations and health care institutions catalyzing joint investments and action to advance equitable policies and practices at the federal, regional and local level.

Food Security in the Time of Covid: It’s Not Charity, It’s Justice: An article by Christine Grillo published by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. March 30, 2020.

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