National Nutrition Month: Our Commitment to Providing Access to Nutritious Food
Arkansas Foodbank aims to provide vital nourishment to our communities all year long – but during the month of March, we like to kick it up a notch by celebrating National Nutrition Month!
This year’s theme, Personalize Your Plate, promotes creating nutritious meals to meet individuals’ cultural and personal food preferences. While many of the traditional activities for National Nutrition Month can’t be done during a pandemic, we still use March as a chance to promote healthy foods, wellness and advocacy for increased access to nutritious food across the counties we serve.
To kick off National Nutrition Month, we wanted to share some of the ways Arkansas Foodbank works to improve health and nutrition among our clients in central and southern Arkansas. We recognize that a critical component of living a healthy life includes healthy eating – which requires access to nutritious food. The Foodbank is committed to increasing access to nutritious food we distribute to our clients year over year.
How We Prioritize Access to Nutritious Food
- The Foodbank has a Nutrition Policy that guides our procurement decisions to obtain foods that will contribute to a more healthful diet among our clients. Over the next three years, we aim to achieve and maintain 30% of our total food distribution to be produce.
- The Foodbank has a Dietitian on staff that oversees our nutrition and health efforts, infusing nutrition into all of our food programs.
- The Foodbank enlists the help and knowledge of our Nutrition Committee, a diverse group of people who have professional and personal knowledge and experience regarding food-insecurity, nutrition and overall health. These stakeholders represent government agencies such as Department of Agriculture and WIC, academic institutions, AmeriCorps Organizations such as Full Circle FarmCorps, Healthcare Institutions and Arkansas Foodbank agencies.
- We utilize a nutrition ranking system to categorize the foods we purchase through commodities into red, yellow and green categories with green being high nutritional value. Last year we ranked 15 million pounds of food in our inventory and 67% of that ranked green.
Hunger & Health
We understand that healthy bodies and minds require nutritious meals at every age. With 1 in 5 Arkansans facing inconsistent access to nutritious food, Map the Meal Gap also indicates that counties with the highest rates of food insecurity also have a higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity and persons with a form of disability.
As the largest hunger relief organization in Arkansas, Arkansas Foodbank recognizes our vital role in providing nutritious food and resources to our network of partners and those we serve. That’s why we’ve joined the Partnership for a Healthier America initiative – we’re committed to creating a stronger community where hunger needs are met with sufficient access to nutritious food.
Join the fun! Follow along with our National Nutrition Month activities. Thanks to Ambetter from Arkansas Health & Wellness, our 2021 National Nutrition Month sponsor!