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From the Ground Up – Grow Well helps with food insecurity and lack of healthy choices

August 5, 2014

Nearly 17 percent of Missourians are food insecure. To help attack the problems of food quantity and quality , Grow Well Missouri – housed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri – is working with food pantries to get more food to their clients, including providing seeds and gardening advice.

Story By: MU News Bureau

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In 2012, 17.6 million U.S. households experienced food insecurity, meaning that their access to adequate foods was limited by lack of money and other resources, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Missouri is ranked seventh in the nation in food insecurity and has the fifth highest rate of child food insecurity in the country. Now, Grow Well Missouri, a project of the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security (ICFS) in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, is helping food pantries provide more food to their clients by offering vegetable seed packets and gardening advice to people who visit food pantries for assistance.

“So far this year, we have distributed almost 22,000 seed packets,” said Bill McKelvey, the project coordinator for Grow Well. “The vegetable varieties selected are ones that grow well in Missouri’s climate and soils without specialized skills or equipment.”

In the near future, McKelvey says that Grow Well will begin distributing recipes that center on the vegetables being grown in the gardens, providing demonstrations showing how to prepare and store foods, and offering gardening classes that will instruct food pantry clients how to increase the yield of their gardens. More…