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Governor Sets October as Hunger and Food Security Awareness Month

Peaceful Belly Farm participates in the Food is Medicine project to bring fresh produce to food insecure families.(Peaceful Belly Farm)
Peaceful Belly Farm participates in the Food is Medicine project to bring fresh produce to food insecure families.(Peaceful Belly Farm)
October 19, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is proclaiming October Hunger and Food Security Awareness Month.

His proclamation will be read at Peaceful Belly Farm in Garden City and highlight the fact that many families in the Gem State aren't sure where their next meal is coming from. Peaceful Belly Farm is participating in the "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Through Community-Supported Agriculture" pilot program, part of the Food is Medicine project.

Josie Erskine, farm partner at Peaceful Belly, said local farms play a crucial role in communities.

"So, is there a way to build community within community by getting local food into households that maybe don't feel like they have access to that food? And by giving them access, does that change their health, their perception of their community?” Erskine said.

In his proclamation, Otter said the state's many farms, and its partnership with hunger relief organizations such as the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, has been integral to providing nutritious meals to food insecure families.

But before families get their locally grown produce, it's important to know who is in need. That's where the medical community comes in. The Food is Medicine project works with clinics on the "screen and intervene" program.

Screen and intervene is a two-part questionnaire that helps identify families who are in need of food resources. Mary Morgan, a nurse practitioner and director of the Meridian School Clinic, walks through the low-key process when a parent indicates they have experienced or are experiencing food insecurity.

"Just say, 'Hey, you know, we have some resources. There's a program that we're doing to connect people with support to help get more food and other needs if you have them,’” Morgan explained. "And then they sign a form saying yes, they're interested, and I refer to Food is Medicine."

Morgan said screen and intervene has been highly effective and that the Food is Medicine project goes a step further. Through the project and Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force, families are able to get healthy food.

"The idea is to get them with fresh produce so that they can work on obesity, work on not getting diabetes, work on high blood pressure in their family, trying to avoid heart disease, those kinds of things,” she said.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID