Great Northern Corporation (GNC) is pleased to announce a $50,000 award from the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to conduct a Siskiyou Community Food Security Assessment. The one year study begins in September and GNC Community Food Program Manager, Renee Casterline will coordinate the project team of staff, consultants and volunteers. “This community food assessment project is an exciting way for the county and its residents to look at issues of food availability, unmet needs and capacity within the county to feed its people,” Renee said of the Community Food Projects grant.
Renee is the new Program Manager for the USDA Commodities Distribution Program, which delivers food to 22 distribution sites, emergency food pantries and 2 soup kitchens across Siskiyou County. “This grant will help GNC better understand the needs of people who use the Commodities Program and to get people across the county involved in the discussion of food”, she said.
The Siskiyou Community Food Security Assessment (CFA) will connect with residents throughout the county at regionally held meetings to encourage them to raise their voices in the conversation about the changing landscape of food and nutrition where they live. The meetings will provide the opportunity for residents to discuss their concerns about their food security and the nutritional value of that food, explore the food related assets of the immediate agricultural area in Siskiyou County and how residents can have access to fresh, healthy food while providing an opportunity for growth of food-related businesses and enterprises.
The project aims to involve a broad scope of individuals, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in local food security discussions. Activities include a survey to collect data that describes the food-security issues for low-income residents, an assessment of Siskiyou County’s grassroots food producing assets and capabilities and the production of a report of the project. The NIFA grant offers an opportunity for future implementation to support community generated projects, and GNC will support next steps based on public input at meetings.
“Community support for this planning project has been fantastic!” says Renee. “GNC is proud to be a partner with the Siskiyou County Family Resource Centers, The Siskiyou County Economic Development Corporation, Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, Fairchild Medical Center, Siskiyou County Office of Education, College of the Siskiyous and Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services. Private funding support also comes from Cross Petroleum and Strata Research.”
GNC’s Community Food Program is growing and seeking volunteers. For more information, or to volunteer to assist in food distribution or the community assessment project, contact Renee Casterline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 938-4115 ext 16.