According to the USDA, one in eight Vermonters struggle with hunger and 13.2% of Vermont households are food insecure, having difficulty during some time of the year to provide food for their family due to a lack of resources. September is Hunger Action Month, when the national Feeding America network of food banks call on Americans to take action to fight hunger in their community.

One of the goals of Vermont’s statewide Farm to Plate food system plan is to ensure all Vermonters have access to fresh, nutritionally balanced food that they can afford.

Photo Credit RAFFLE

Photo Credit RAFFLE

The updated Food Security section of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan reviews food security trends and challenges in Vermont and New England. An in-depth analysis identifies opportunities for federal food programs, community food security programs, and Vermont’s charitable food system to improve the health and well-being of food insecure Vermonters. The section explores how food access programs can address food security while considering how Vermonters access food; the extent to which food is available; how food is prepared, cooked, and stored; and the stability of Vermont’s food system.

“Food access challenges in Vermont are all too real for too many families and the revised Food Security section sheds light both on the extent of the problem and provides specific recommendations about what more could be done to address the issue,” states Rachel Schattman, co-author of the updated Food Security section and former local food program coordinator at UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture/PhD candidate, UVM Dept. of Plant and Soil Science.

Originally released in 2011, the updated section was prepared by Schattman and UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture colleagues, Virginia Nickerson and Linda Berlin (also co-chair of the Farm to Plate Food Access Cross-cutting Team). Both the Food Access Cross-cutting Team and Scott Sawyer at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund served as editors of the updated Food Security section.

People who work in Vermont’s charitable food system and community based food programs and organizations, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Vermont Agency of Health and Human Services (including Vermont Dept. of Health and Vermont Dept. of Children and Families), members of the Farm to Plate Food A