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Jackson Food Landscape Assessment

By Jacqueline Winkler

Michigan State University Extension, USA

Nutrition

Published: Sep 16, 2016 | pg. no: 1-23

Abstract: The Jackson Food Landscape Assessment is used to enhance the understanding of the gaps and resources that are currently present in Jackson County’s network. Community members will better be able to evaluate the positive assets within their food system and identify opportunities for future collaboration that will further strengthen the food system – food business owners, organization members, and the community will be able to work together to create better options for food sourcing and consumption. The mission is to: i. To create a resource for people to discover the “hunger safety net” that exists in the community to keep people from hunger problems or experiencing food scarcity ii. Strengthening urban-rural links by connecting farmers to consumers for example iii. Provide information to Jackson County to examine the availability and access to food programs/healthy foods iv. Understanding the barriers in the community v. Foster connecting between consumers and local food programs vi. Bridging the gap between food production and food security vii. Enhance a common understanding of the resources and gaps present within Jackson’s food system Jackson County’s Food Landscape Assessment will be beneficial to foster connections between consumers (community) and the local food programs that exist. Bridging the gaps between food production and food security. The different aspects that seemingly affect a community’s use of food programs involved in the county’s network are overall food security, proximity to food assistance programs and self-reliance. This particular research uses participatory models to engage community members in beginning to chart the assets in their county’s food system. Analyzing the local food system began with looking at why the food system is less visible. This is due to many factors, but the main reasons are outlined in the following pages of the assessment. Advantages of creating a food landscape, is to show a visual depiction of existing and lacking assets, to develop/improve services & to generate community participation. This particularly ‘brief’ community food assessment will focus on a geographically defined place, examining the links between the food programs. Addressing the needs and assets of Jackson County’s food programs, future collaborations can be made among participants.

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