It’s easy to take for granted what we have on our plate. But for thousands of our neighbors, finding the next meal is full of uncertainty.
Now, finding healthy, nutritious food in west Georgia is getting a little easier thanks to a new grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Tanner Health System has received a $399,790 award from the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP), administered by the UDSA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The CFPCGP provides funding to organizations so they can develop local solutions to food security and increase access to healthy food for low-income communities.
The grant is for a four-year project period. The CFPCGP project will build on the work already being done by Tanner and the West Georgia Regional Food Collaborative. The collaborative was launched by west Georgia residents who are working to create a healthier food infrastructure in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties.
“Residents in west Georgia disproportionately suffer from poverty, food insecurity and chronic disease,” said Denise Taylor, senior vice president and chief community health and brand officer for Tanner Health System. “To help address this problem, Tanner worked with the West Georgia Regional Food Collaborative to develop a plan that will help us continue our efforts to improve the community’s health.”
According to Feeding America, almost 19,000 Carroll County residents — 17 percent of the population — are food insecure. More than 4,000 Haralson County residents, about 15 percent of the population, are food insecure, and almost 2,000 residents of Heard County are food insecure, comprising 16 percent of the county’s population.
One of Tanner’s CFPCGP project goals is to develop a new farmers’ market pavilion on the Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton campus, which is centrally located at the intersection of five food desert census tracts in Carroll County.
Another goal is to implement community-wide nutrition education programming that targets low-income individuals. Programming will include healthy food cooking courses. Tanner will also provide comprehensive training programs to help local farmers strengthen their business and managerial skills to establish, improve and sustain operations.
“This is an exciting and innovative opportunity to not only address food insecurity broadly, but ensure we’re addressing it in a way that accounts for our neighbors’ health,” said Taylor.
More information on Get Healthy, Live Well — including upcoming health opportunities and ongoing programs — is available at GetHealthyLiveWell.org.
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