Fresh Grown Cooking at the Food Bank

A Cooking, Nutrition and Fresh Grown Food Education Program

Fresh Grown Cooking at the Food Bank
For many people food banks have become more than a stopgap measure. Many visit their local food bank every month, particularly towards the end of the month when their food stamps are running out. Nationally, every year more than 37 million Americans receive assistance from food banks. In Oregon, 270,000 people, including 92,000 children, eat meals from emergency food boxes every month (

Food Insecurity in America

In 2011, 14.9 percent (17.9 million) of American households were food insecure. Food-insecure households had difficulty at some time during the year to provide enough food for all of their members (Figure 1). 10.0 percent of food-insecure households (3.9 million households) had children. These households were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children at different times during the year (USDA: Household Food Insecurity in the United States, 2011). Research also shows that African-Americans, Latinos, and single mothers with children experience food insecurity at higher rates than the national average (Ending Hunger Before it Begins: Oregon's Call to Action 2010 - 2015).

In Oregon, 13.6 percent of households (491,000 Oregonians) suffered food insecurity in 2009-2011. During the same period, 5.9 percent of all the households (213,000 Oregonians) experienced very low food security. They ate less, skipped meals or sometimes went without food for entire days (Oregon Food Bank News).

A Partnership to Address a Complex Problem

Food insecurity in America is a complex problem. It's not just about getting enough food, but also about getting the right food - it is about making the right choices. However, it is hard to make good decisions about healthy eating when money is scarce and your family is hungry. The cheapest foods are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. We have partnered with the South Corvallis Food Bank to show low-income families how they can prepare nutritious and healthful meals with the food from the food bank. We offer cooking demonstrations and nutrition education and help families put together a food box with nutritious food items. In addition, we show families how they can incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables available at the food bank into their meals.

Food Bank
Picture provided by the South Corvallis Food Bank

Why the South Corvallis Community?

Data indicate that poverty and food insecurity are of growing concern in South Corvallis. Of the approximately 5,400 residents of South Corvallis, 38 percent have an income at or below 185 percent of the poverty level*. South Corvallis is the most diverse neighborhood in Corvallis and has the highest concentration of Hispanics in Benton County. Data from a study conducted by Oregon State University Extension in 2009, indicate that 86 percent of female Hispanic residents in South Corvallis have experienced food insecurity during the past year (South Corvallis Community Food Center Feasibility Report). At Lincoln Elementary School, the neighborhood school in South Corvallis, 30 percent of the students are of Hispanic origin and 70 percent of the total student population participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Each month, over 230 families visit the South Corvallis Food Bank to receive a six-day food box; these 230 food boxes provide food for over 1,000 people.

*Poverty Levels: Poverty level is an income level below which a person or family is considered to be living in poverty. Poverty level thresholds used by the U.S. Census Bureau are determined by yearly income and number of people the yearly income must support

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