Teaching Food Security to Low-Income Rural Families in the United States
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In order to achieve the goals of ending poverty and hunger, as stated under the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, there needs to be a focus on low-income families who are most affected by these issues. Two ways to support low-income families in improving food security include providing access to affordable, fresh foods and education about food systems. Twenty-six percent of residents in Meadville, Pennsylvania live below the poverty line and 50% of students in the school district receive subsidized lunch. In 2014, the Community Wellness Initiative of Allegheny College established an affordable community and school garden in Meadville, Pennsylvania. There are monthly cooking and gardening workshops for community members. The garden-based curriculum is being integrated into middle- and high-school classes to teach students to think critically about the food system while learning basic growing and cooking skills. Students then bring lessons home to their families furthering the education of families in Meadville. This paper will describe how the garden is used to teach families and students of Meadville to grow, prepare, and purchase high-quality food in order to improve food security.