The Issue: Food Security as a basic element of a health and prosperous community

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Despite the success of the nation’s nutrition assistance programs and the hard work of state and local governments and countless charitable organizations dedicated to eliminating hunger in their communities, hunger and food insecurity persist. 

Idahoans are a generous people with an endless and charitable spirit.  Despite abundant charitable efforts, too many in our communities are not adequately fed—a basic foundation of a healthy community.  Instead, some children rely on a free school lunch as their only meal of the day.  Many older people eat too little to maintain their health and independence.  Many working parents skip meals so that their children can eat.  Hungry families can be found in every county in Idaho, and the ill effects of hunger touch everyone and every community in some way.  A prosperous community is one that addresses the root causes of this most basic indicator—food insecurity.

The Cultivate Idaho Initiative includes and looks beyond emergency assistance and explores local food systems, economic development, community support systems, and civic engagement for enduring solutions to build a food secure and thriving community.

The Cultivate Idaho Initiative seeks to identify new strategies to create prosperity and food security where community members live, work, learn, play and grow older. Private and public efforts must collaborate to assess community strengths and challenges, and engage community members to plan and implement local solutions that promote healthy independence.  Critical indicators include: local food systems, transportation and mobility; health and human services; emergency support; housing; financial responsibility; workforce and employment; civic engagement and volunteer opportunities; and lifelong learning for all community members.