Policy, Systems, and Environmental Strategies Generated by Stakeholders to Support Food Security in Rural Communities

 The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition partnered with No Kid Hungry for this study in rural communities of Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, and Texas. In the United States, food insecurity rates are greater in rural communities as compared to more urban areas. Policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies can address root cause issues of food insecurity in rural areas by making changes that support healthy communities.  

The objectives of this study were to 1) co-develop PSE strategies with family participants and practitioners to support food security in rural communities and 2) prioritize which PSE strategies will make the greatest impact in rural communities to support food security.  

PSE strategies that arose from the interviews were wide ranging, from making it easier for people to sign up for programs to expanding employment to increasing access to affordable health care. The three PSE strategies with the greatest support from the survey and those which mostly reached consensus during the focus groups to prioritize were: make it easier to sign up for programs, make people more aware of services, make it trouble free for people to use programs. 

The  study underlines the need for multi-pronged approaches to align policies, systems, and environments to support food security in rural communities.   When planning for and implementing the PSE strategies, it is important to leverage assets and work with challenges to tailor programming to local communities.

For more detail, the full research report is linked on this page.