There are areas of Missouri — both rural and urban — without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
That is called food insecurity and according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, this lack of nutrition affects one in five children in the state. The agency has recognized 12 projects to support and awarded matching grants to:
- A Red Circle, St. Louis – contributing to the construction of the North County Agricultural Education Center
- Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Columbia – purchasing greenhouse supplies to grow to produce for donation to an area food bank
- Community Action Agency, St. Louis County – expanding the Seeds of Hope Farm, which will include a caterpillar tunnel kit and other growing supplies
- Dirt Beast Farm, Kansas City – clearing unused urban land for vegetable production, and purchasing supplies for irrigation and development of the land
- Drew Lewis Foundation, Springfield – constructing a wash and pack facility for produce grown on-site
- Green Acres Urban Farm, Kansas City – increasing production of greens and adding shrimp production
- Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, Kansas City – assisting with the construction of a commercial kitchen, which will increase access to local food
- Jewish Vocational Service Global Gardens, Kansas City – increasing the number of raised beds used by low-income residents to grow food for personal use and sale at farmers’ markets
- Lettuce Dream, Maryville – adding lighting, which will allow for an increased growth of hydroponic lettuce that will be donated to a local food pantry
- The Fit and Food Connection, St. Louis – purchasing equipment which will increase food delivery to low-income residents through the Food Assistance Program
- West Plains Community Garden, West Plains – increasing the number of community garden beds used by low-income residents
- Stoddard County Senior Citizens Agency, Dexter – purchasing a walk-in freezer, allowing for an increase in food storage.
The sites were chosen for their potential to grow and sustain the local economies as well as the health of each community.
According to the MDA, the appropriation from the General Assembly totaled $200,000. The cap for each project match was $25,000 maximum.
The projects must be completed by May 1, 2020.