Bingham Fellows Class of 2013
Developing a Smart Food Culture
After months of exploration and creative problem-solving, the 2013 Bingham Fellows are launching initiatives to Develop a Smart Food Culture, one that promotes healthy eating, improved accessibility and one that is environmentally responsible over the long term. To start this movement, they have developed a set of community food principles to create awareness of simple, fundamental truths. Here are their principles; read on to learn more about their work.
- We believe in creating a community food system whereby all community members have equitable, affordable, and convenient access to nutritional food.
- We believe in supporting food education efforts that address how food is produced, processed, labeled, distributed, marketed, prepared, consumed, and disposed.
- We believe in building a greater nutritional knowledge and awareness throughout our community, acknowledging the important link between the foods we eat and our health.
- We believe our support of locally based small and mid-scale farms, as well as local food processing and distribution, will benefit our community.
- We believe our food supply should be produced and processed in sustainable ways that prevent the exploitation of farmers, workers, and natural resources, and prevents the cruel treatment of animals.
- We believe in supporting community-based initiatives that address hunger.
The diversity of projects developed by the 46 community leaders in the 2013 Bingham Fellows class, reflects the complex nature of their topic. They all, however, recognize the role environment plays in shaping food culture. All five projects focus on modifying or supporting environments that encourage positive relationships with food. Their projects are priming our community’s soil and planting the seeds for a smarter food culture.
The 2013 Bingham Fellows five projects are:
Building a Smart Food Culture Model
Wellington Elementary is a JCPS school that serves a diverse student body and is at the heart of the Shively community, a known “food desert” with poor health outcomes. The Fellows are connecting two non-profits, New Roots and The Food Literacy Project, with new expertise and resources to empower Shively residents and create a replicable model for other “food deserts” in Louisville. This will build the nutrition IQ for students and families, create demand for fresh food, and reduce food insecurity through the Wellington Fresh Stop, a community-operated market that assists members in pooling their resources (including food stamps) to receive seasonal produce from local farmers at wholesale rates. This partnership has already seen remarkable gains in pre- and post-surveys with third graders, including: 1.) more than doubling the number who eat vegetables daily or want to (44% to 94%), 2.) have a higher food IQ evidenced by the number who can identify the edible part of a plant (34% to 92%) and 3.) the number of children who can prepare a healthy recipe (34% to 97%).
The Fellows have enabled growth and expansion to additional sites in Louisville through business planning and development support, including a $200,000 grant from Johnson & Johnson to prevent childhood obesity at Wellington Elementary and replicate the initiative at another school, Hazelwood Elementary. Another $2,500 Walmart grant was received and additional funds are also expected.
Louisville Barn Raising
According to the 2013 Local Food Demand Survey, there is unmet demand in Louisville for local food. The Fellows see this as an opportunity to transform our local food economy and provide the fresh food the community wants. The Fellows will convene hand-selected leaders for a charrette (solution-oriented meeting) called the Louisville Barn Raising, January 13-14, 2014 at 21c Museum Hotel. The charrette will tap into the wisdom of knowledgeable leaders to address the significant and systematic gaps identified in the survey. These stakeholders will design collaborative solutions to increase food production, improve aggregation and distribution, and create local processing capacity. The result will be an action plan to transform our local food economy.
Louisville Community Food Principles
How do you start a movement? You invite more than 100 leading organizations in our community to publicly commit to a set of food principles that declare simple, fundamental truths: healthful food is essential to healthy lives and to a healthy society, environment, and economy. By securing this support, the Fellows are fostering changes in institutional policies and decision-making of regional organizations. To date, over 35 have signed the Community Food Principles, including Baptist Health Louisville, Bellarmine University, KentuckyOne Health, Louisville Urban League, Norton Healthcare, Passport Health Plan, Presbyterian Church USA, Spalding University, University of Louisville and YMCA of Louisville. Mayor Greg Fischer is planning to sign at IdeaFestival the week of September 23, 2013.
Students Taking Charge
The Fellows see the need for young adults to take ownership and lead the conversation around healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, they are building on and assisting in the implementation of a proven national program called Students Taking Charge with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) high school students. Students will be given the tools to identify areas of health policy and environmental improvement in their schools, formulate action steps for change, and then implement those changes by working with their peers, parents, educators, and community stakeholders. The Fellows have also created The League of Healthy Heroes, a network of chefs, nutritionists, trainers, and volunteers, to assist students in making policy and environmental changes in their schools. They have secured an $8,000 grant for multiple schools, achieved full buy-in with JCPS curriculum leaders and recruited 12 community volunteers. This work will culminate in a student-led showcase at the end of the academic year.
To amplify all of the work currently underway in regard to a smarter food culture, the Fellows have partnered with food economy stakeholders and businesses like Winston Industries to create a new resource to support and grow the initiatives in our region. LouisvilleisFood.org will promote greater connection and coordination among organizations working in all aspects of the food system, educate the public, provide a springboard for advocacy, and promote the good work happening in Louisville around food. By connecting these disparate but like-minded entities, their efforts become more sustainable.