OMAHA, Neb.--()--As part of its ongoing commitment to address U.S. food insecurity – an issue that affects more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children – ConAgra Foods Foundation announced new research today, developed by Professor Craig Gundersen, on the actions foundations and advocates can take to substantially reduce food insecurity. Gundersen, an economist and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the areas of domestic food insecurity research, revealed the findings to an audience in Waco, Texas, during the Southwest Regional Hunger Summit held at Baylor University.
“Beginning with my work at the Economic Research Service of the USDA, I have studied the causes and consequences of food insecurity in the United States”
As keynote speaker at the Summit, Gundersen gave an overview on U.S. food insecurity and named the five factors that the research shows have the greatest impact on reducing food insecurity, captured in his report: An Overview of the Effectiveness of Various Approaches to Addressing Food Insecurity in the United States.
The five evidence-based factors covered in the report are:
- Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); formerly known as the Food Stamp program
- Participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Use of emergency food assistance programs
- Low food prices
- Improved financial management skills
For each of these factors, Gundersen considered the evidence regarding its efficacy in reducing food insecurity, and how each of these can be enhanced by the actions of foundations, food banks, policymakers, program administrators and advocates.
“Beginning with my work at the Economic Research Service of the USDA, I have studied the causes and consequences of food insecurity in the United States,” said Craig Gundersen, now a professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. “However, this is the first time I have been asked to look at the literature through the lens of what is most effective for funders, advocates, and policymakers to invest in to move the dial on food insecurity.”
Funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, the intent of the study is to help the various interest groups focused on reducing hunger align on a common strategy platform, determined by evidence-based research. A complete copy of the study can be downloaded at www.texashungerresearch.org.
“We get a number of opportunities to invest in ‘hunger solution’ ideas from direct feeding programs to advocacy work,” explained Kori Reed, vice president Cause and the ConAgra Foods Foundation. “We went to the expert, Dr. Gundersen, to help us better understand the most effective solutions, which ultimately, will enhance conversations around strategy development informed by evidence-based research, and inspire innovative thinking and a call to action. “
About Professor Gundersen: Craig Gundersen, professor in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, is an accomplished scholar, educator, author and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the areas of food insecurity research and the evaluation of food assistance programs. At the University of Illinois, he is a member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences, a Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs and an Affiliate of the Family Resiliency Center. In addition, he is a member of the Technical Advisory Group for Feeding America, which is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Prior to arriving at the University of Illinois, Gundersen worked for the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and at Iowa State University.
About ConAgra Foods Foundation: The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 17 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and don't have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger, and is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America, that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is funded solely by ConAgra Foods. For more information, please visit www.conagrafoodsfoundation.org.