By Christine Rivera, Nutrition Manager, Feeding America
Diet-related diseases have become epidemic in this country, and they are disproportionately prevalent in food-insecure populations. People living with food insecurity often lack access to the food necessary to help them live a healthy, active life, and consequently more often suffer from diseases like obesity and type-2 diabetes, among others.
To tackle this issue head-on, Feeding America teamed up with the National Dairy Council® and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to form the Future of Foods Partnership. Together, the Future of Foods Partnership members work to eliminate hunger and promote healthy food choice by identifying game-changing innovations in the field of nutrition and food insecurity.
To ensure that the partnership's work is grounded in the priorities, needs, assets and expertise of each partner's respective networks, Future of Foods Partnership created the Nutrition Solutions Working Group (NSWG).
Through three subcommittees, the NSWG provides insight into pressing nutrition issues, helps identify promising strategies and informs pilot projects that address the partnership's main priorities. The subcommittees include:
� The Healthy Food Bank Hub Subcommittee created and launched a microsite designed to bring together public health and hunger-relief professionals. Please visit the Healthy Food Bank Hub (healthyfoodbankhub.org). The most popular section is currently the Tools and Resources section, which features more than 125 nutrition education handouts and healthy recipes.
� The Dietetic Internship Concentration Subcommittee is finishing a Food Insecurity and Food Banking Internship concentration for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Expected to be released in July 2014, the concentration of more than 120 hours will better prepare entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to successfully impact the nutritional health of food-insecure individuals and families.
� The Dairy Access Subcommittee has played an integral role in identifying ways to amplify dairy access through the Dairy Case Studies. The group also helped develop a relationship with MilkPEP, the Milk Processor Education Program organization. As a result, the dairy industry and Feeding America are gearing up for the "Great American Milk Drive," a national cause marketing campaign to drive milk donations to Feeding America clients.
Each subcommittee has seen significant success so far — a success that will surely increase as the partnership continues. The NSWG would not be possible without the commitment and dedication from each of its members. Feeding America would like to thank each NSWG member for her hard work. Members include:
Nutrition Solutions Working Group: Feeding America Network Members Keren Ferris, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina Janet Leader, MPH, RD, formerly with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties Luz-Myriam Neira, PhD, MS, San Antonio Food Bank Amanda Schroeder Hege, formerly with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina Ginny Sorensen, Oregon Food Bank Jenna Umbriac, MS, Manna Food Bank Maria Ali, RD, LD/N, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Kelly Brasseur, MS, RD, LDN, Northern Illinois Food Bank Helen Costello, MS, RD, LD, New Hampshire Food Bank Colleen Keller, RD, Central Virginia Food Bank Jennifer Mariano, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado National Dairy Council® Martha Marino MA, RD, CD, Washington State Dairy Council Molly Pelzer, RD, Midwest Dairy Council Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Meg Bruening, PhD, MPH, RD, Arizona State University Kay Dutram, MS, RD Glenna McCollum, DMOL, MPH, RD Joanne B. Murray, RD, LDN, Food Culinary Professionals Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group Advisor Gabriella Mora, The Food Trust
With your support and dedication, the Feeding America network of food banks can work to not only solve hunger, but also promote health. Together, we are creating a healthier tomorrow, for millions of people in need.