Michigan Farm Bureau partners with University of Michigan for UP food insecurity study

The organization is specifically looking to curb the child hunger aspect of the situation by interviewing rural families across the state
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Families in rural Michigan have faced new financial obstacles since the pandemic.

The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) says around one in four children have experienced food insecurity in the state since 2020. Knowing this, MFB has helped create programs to combat the symptoms.

Food insecurity is a lack of access to nutritious food to sustain a healthy life. MFB specifically looks at the lasting health effects on children who experience this.

“Children with food insecurity issues develop lifelong implications as far as health issues and behavioral issues. We’re really trying to get ahead of those children experiencing that,” said MFB Community Engagement Specialist Cassandra Sinadinos.

The bureau has partnered with the University of Michigan for phase two of the Feeding MI Families project. Starting next month, 600 random parents across the state’s 58 rural counties will be surveyed about their exposure to food insecurity during the health crisis.

“We’ll really get to learn directly from these parents about what they’re experiencing so that Farm Bureau and University of Michigan together can pull resources and really try to address the particular needs in the state to really solve the issue long-term.”

The MFB study results could be released in late 2023 or early 2024.

Here in the U.P., Superior Health Foundation is entering year two of its Proactive Grant Focus program. Last year, it gave grants to four organizations that addressed food insecurities in the U.P., including Feeding America West Michigan.

“We provided approximately $575,000 in funding in year one. This year, we’re going to have close to $1,000,000 remaining for the second part of that,” said SHF Executive Director Jim LaJoie.

New organizations that did not apply for year one funding can apply by the end of Friday.

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