A Healthier Wisconsin

Using Food Hubs to Improve Community Health

Expanding the food distribution system to ensure that food banks have access to healthy, local foods

Full Project Name:Using Food Hubs to Improve Community Health by Getting Better Food to More PeoplePrimary Community Organization:Feeding America of Eastern WisconsinPrimary Academic Partner:Leslie Ruffalo, PhD, Family and Community MedicineAward Amount:$501,268
Award Date
Project Duration:48 months

Project Description Narrative:

In traditional hunger relief, fresh food is costly and inefficient to source and store, leading to over-reliance by food banks and pantries on shelf-stable products that lack nutritional value. To address a need for increased access to local healthy foods, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and partners developed and piloted Farm Link, a community food hub connecting local producers to institutional buyers and hunger-relief programs. To expand the success of the Farm Link pilot project, partners will decentralize Farm Link across the state to create efficient connections among people to increase access to high-quality local produce and create additional opportunities farmers to supply healthy local food.

Community Partners: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Wisconsin Local Food Network, Wisconsin Slo-Food Co-op, Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, Feeding Wisconsin

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Maintained relationships with four contract growing farms which resulted in production of over 190,000 pounds of produce distributed across Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin's hunger relief footprint during the past year
  • Launched Farm Link newsletter in summer 2021 to share updates regarding Farm Link's current initiatives, a feature story, spotlight a farm or staff member, and a healthy recipe
  • Obtained approval for the Nutrition Policy for participating hunger relief organizations, implementation of Diabetic Friendly Food Boxes, and adoption of “Supporting Wellness At Pantries” (SWAP) standards at Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin
  • Leveraged $6 million in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funding
  • Disseminated project efforts through three academic presentations

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
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