Hamline News

Professors Keefe and Cadieux Win Grant to Lead Food Access Project

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded a $35,000 planning grant to Campus Compact of Iowa and Minnesota and Hamline, St. Catherine, and Augsburg Universities.

The project titled “Urban Liberal Arts Colleges in Community Food Ecosystems: Nourishing Underserved Students, Families, and Neighbors” will build on previous pilot research conducted by Hamline University students that assessed needs and evaluated existing food access programs on their campus.

Hamline, St. Catherine, and Augsburg Universities have established student-led food access programs to address food insecurity among their communities. This grant will strengthen those programs, and support student-led efforts to collaboratively explore next steps.

“Our schools now serve student bodies that are more diverse and lower-income than our neighboring state schools,” said co-investigator Valentine Cadieux, a professor at Hamline University. ”The burden of food insecurity significantly affects students’ capacity to benefit from the studies in which they are investing so much of their familial resources.”

The project will fund workshops and student fellowship positions on the three campuses with the goal of exploring ways to partner with each other and local communities to create “food ecosystems” that address food insecurity on- and off-campus.

The award is the first collaborative grant to address food insecurity among private college students in the Twin Cities. It is possible due to the existing relationships among the schools and Campus Compact of Iowa and Minnesota. In Spring 2020 Susi Keefe and Valentine Cadieux convened campus food access stakeholders across the midwest to share rapid response strategies to extraordinary food security needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted a workshop on campus farms and gardens.

“As the three campuses learned about each others’ efforts to connect basic needs infrastructure to curriculum, project leaders recognized the need and opportunity for collaboration,” said Jane Turk of Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact.

“By sharing and comparing our food access service, research, and advocacy efforts and strengthening the capacity for understanding existing needs, we hope that through this project, each institution will be better able to address community food insecurity,” said co-investigator and Hamline Associate Professor Susi Keefe.

Written by staff.