Community Food Assessment Report

Where we are now:

The Hunger Coalition and community partners wrapped up the first phase of the Blaine County Food Assessment (BCCFA) in early 2016 with the release of the BCCFA Report. Click on the links below for the executive summary and the full report. This information will be shared in February and March 2016 during presentations at each City Council and with the Blaine County Commissioners. Each community partner and participant in the project also received this report.

ExecsummaryCover Blaine County Community Food Assessment








The Hunger Coalition’s Community Food Assessment Manager, Lynea Petty, and the University of Idaho’s Extension Education, Lauren Golden, are coordinating the BCCFA’s next phase with community partners.  A steering committee meets monthly to network across the multiple parts of the food system. Working groups, tasked with achieving goals set with the steering committee’s oversight, gather approximately quarterly. Together, these collaborative groups are working to identify appropriate programming, policy, promotion and more to address our community food system meaningfully.

The Hunger Coalition strives to end hunger in our community by providing wholesome food, collaboration, education, and advocacy. From 2014 – 2015, The Hunger Coalition, along with two AmeriCorps VISTA members and assistance of the Public Policy Research Center at Boise State University, undertook a community food assessment. Research focused on four areas of the food system: food production, food waste and recovery, food security and food consumption.

Feeding America’s statistics have shown that we are currently helping 84% of the food insecure population in the community, but our numbers show something very different. From 2012 to 2013 our services increased 32%; during the first six months of 2014 a 55% increase of families and individuals occurred, and the number of seniors and those 18 years and younger has soared.

The food assessment takes a more detailed look at the underlying social, economic, and institutional factors in a community that affect the quantity and quality of available food and its affordability in relation to the sufficiency of financial resources available to obtain it.

The food assessment shows us the true number of the food insecure population in our community as well as the barriers that keep people from accessing The Hunger Coalition’s and other organizations’ services. The assessment helped build relationships and define future goals; these community based solutions and relationships will be putting the resources in place to help break the cycle of poverty we face.

Stakeholders from different areas of the community worked to develop a joint agenda and action plan. The team used the USDA’s toolkit which looks at community demographics, community food resources, household food security, food resource availability and affordability, and community food production resources.

The Blaine County Food Assessment Report is Ready!

ExecsummaryCoverThe Blaine County Community Food Assessment (BCCFA) report on our local food system is published, and available online here. The Executive Summary is available here. Also watch for presentations at City Council and County Commissioner meetings during February and March.

The BCCFA team of local organizations and individuals researched Blaine County’s food production, consumption patterns, food waste and recovery, and food security over the course of 2015. The group will continue to work together in the food system framework. Many moving parts need Blaine County Community Food Assessmentto be coordinated to achieve bold goals such that food access, healthy diets and sustainable farming work together to promote greater health and quality of life for all.

The project grew from The Hunger Coalition’s interest in food insecurity rates, and the community’s interest in local food system development. The report provides a critical tool for community members pursuing opportunities to localize the food system: it can support grant applications, be used as baseline information to continue research, and it provides recommendations to get the ball rolling on projects. Continue reading

Food Security-Initial Survey Results

Objective: Three metrics (accessibility, availability, affordability) to quantify local food insecurity.

Methods: mail-in survey; focus groups

Outcomes: According to the results from our investigation into price comparison among grocery stores and from national GIS data, Blaine County has food readily available that meets the minimum USDA standards for a healthy diet, and most people live close enough to a grocery store to be able to access that food. Even in Carey, where there were assumptions of a food desert, an Adamson’s market and another gas station provide minimal groceries and fresh produce.

However, an interesting theme emerged from our focus group in Carey – although they do not have large markets with a wide variety of produce, Carey residents adopt a communal attitude towards food. Many residents grow their own food and share it with their neighbors, or barter for other items.

Our community food survey revealed that 14.1% of households are food insecure in Blaine County, with an additional 5% of households classified as “marginally food secure.” Marginally food secure is a term that describes people who engaged in some kind of coping strategy because they did not have enough money or enough food at some point this past year, but did not engage in them frequently enough to warrant a food insecure household.

coping strategy by income

Continue reading