Food Policy Group Discusses Student Food Security - Humboldt State Now

Food Policy Group Discusses Student Food Security

It’s not news that there are significant barriers some people face in trying to get quality food. Now the community is invited to learn more about what’s being done to address student needs at a panel discussion hosted by the Humboldt Food Policy Council.

The meeting is free and open to the public and takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at Humboldt State University (download a campus map PDF here).

A panel of college faculty and students will discuss the barriers and stigmas college students face in qualifying and using CalFresh benefits, the California implementation of the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The meeting will also cover community efforts to address food insecurity at local colleges, HSU’s own implementation of programs aimed at alleviating food insecurity, and future opportunities for community partnerships.

The panel will include HSU Social Work professor Jennifer Maguire, HSU health educators Mira Friedman and Ravin Craig, and College of the Redwoods Resource Center manager Jenny Quigley. The discussion will be moderated by Brian Mistler, director of Health and Wellness at HSU.

About HSU’s Efforts to Address Student Hunger

The following summary was originally published in the California State University report “Serving Displaced and Food Insecure Students in the CSU.” Download the full report (PDF) here.

Humboldt State University (HSU) takes a holistic approach when working with students facing food insecurity. HSU Social Work students and faculty and Health Education staff have partnered with campus and community stakeholders to develop a program that puts a primary focus on students’ overall wellbeing, which is why Humboldt offers a variety of services to their students including a food pantry, farm stand, CalFresh application assistance, cooking classes, student lounge, a food shuttle, stress management techniques, and more. The campus staff considers the individual student’s needs and circumstances in order to assess how to best help them achieve success and health.

Food Pantry: Humboldt State University’s Oh Snap! Food Pantry began in October 2014. It is located in the Recreation and Wellness Center where it is easily accessible by the student population. The staff at the food pantry realized that the students needed more than dried and canned goods to stay nourished, so they began working with a local farmer to provide fresh produce at the pantry. Since it opened, the Oh Snap! Food Pantry has had over 4,000 visits by students who are able to come once a week to access food.

Cooking Classes: In an effort to increase the health of the students’ food choices, the university began holding cooking classes using small appliances typically found in a dorm room or apartment. These classes teach students how to create healthy, low-cost meals from foods offered at the food pantry and farm stand and, at the end of the class, the students leave with recipes and ingredients to recreate the meals on their own. This was one way of educating students about nutrition as wells as showing them how to practically prepare new foods.

CalFresh Enrollment: Through the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services CalFresh Partnership Outreach with the Social Work Department, a peer outreach model for CalFresh application assistance is made possible. In the same building as the food pantry, students are also able to sign up to receive food benefits from CalFresh if they are eligible. The CalFresh Office on campus utilizes students to help register individuals for CalFresh benefits.

About the Humboldt Food Policy Council

The Humboldt Food Policy Council (HFPC) is a group of local stakeholders dedicated to educating the community about our local food system. They facilitate regional conferences and hold bi-monthly educational meetings, providing members and the community with up-to-date information on issues that impact local food access, production, and resources.

For more information on HSU’s efforts to address food security, check the 2016 Fall edition of Humboldt magazine.