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Rural Project Examples: Food security and nutrition

Effective Examples

Hidalgo Medical Services – Family Support Program
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To reduce health disparities in two rural/frontier counties in southwest New Mexico.
  • Intervention: Community health workers work with clients to help them better manage their health and promote awareness of healthy lifestyle options in the community.
  • Results: Better health outcomes for patients.
Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Program
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • Need: Obesity is a widespread epidemic in the United States, especially in rural areas. Due to small profit margins and fear of losing customers, small owner-operated rural restaurants hesitate to make health-conscious changes to their menus.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Options Program offered an economical and low-maintenance program for owner-operated restaurants in Iowa to increase awareness of already existing healthy menu options and substitutions.
  • Results: Restaurants received positive feedback and experienced no financial loss. Customers noticed and appreciated the healthy option reminders, and ordering behavior improved.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: An ongoing health need to alleviate early childhood obesity in the rural Kansas counties of Marshall and Nemaha.
  • Intervention: 5 distinct physical and nutritional programs were introduced to 9 preschool sites through the overarching Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP).
  • Results: HELP comprehensively increased children's physical activity and healthy food consumption and established a sustainable presence at each preschool site.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy From CATCH to C.H.E.F.
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: To help children and families in Lincoln, rural Benton, and east Linn counties achieve higher-quality lives free of preventable diseases related to poor nutrition and obesity.
  • Intervention: Two programs were applied on a local level to provide physical activity, nutrition, and culinary education in a school and community setting.
  • Results: The physical activity rate surpassed the Department of Health and Human Services recommended rate by 5%, and schools started serving healthier options in their cafeterias.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • Need: To educate youth about obesity and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Intervention: An educational program about healthy living was implemented in Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes in Louisiana for youth ages 9-18.
  • Results: Youth4Health program produced greater awareness and participation in healthier lifestyles by target youth and their families, as well as church congregations.

Other Project Examples

Grow Your Health
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To reduce rates of chronic disease in Appalachian Ohio by increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Intervention: Ohio State University Extension-Vinton County established a community garden, container gardens, and classes to provide residents with fresh produce and healthy cooking/canning techniques.
  • Results: The number of gardeners has increased in Vinton County, providing residents with healthier food.
South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: To encourage children to make healthy eating choices through learning and tasting.
  • Intervention: Brief, fun, and informative presentations for children on over 42 different fruits and vegetables.
  • Results: Participants are exposed to new foods and show more interest in healthy eating.
Lunch Express Summer Food Program
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: With school lunch programs inactive during summer months, rural children in Northeast Tennessee experienced food insecurity.
  • Intervention: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee used repurposed school buses to expand meal delivery to rural children in remote areas of eight counties.
  • Results: During summer months, four converted school buses bring meals to nearly 350 children, traveling 11,000 miles in rural and remote areas.
Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the state of South Carolina were purchasing breast milk from out-of-state milk banks for preterm infants.
  • Intervention: The Mother's Milk Bank of South Carolina (MMBSC) opened 17 sites in South Carolina for breast milk to be donated, safely pasteurized, and delivered to NICUs across the state.
  • Results: Over 260,000 ounces of milk have been donated to MMBSC depot sites and over 186,000 ounces of milk have been delivered to South Carolina NICUs.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: To strengthen the local food system by assisting farmers, supporting rural economies and promoting access to fresh food for underserved families and individuals receiving federal nutrition assistance.
  • Intervention: Financial partnership and targeted programs created to strengthen food system infrastructure and connect regional food producers to a larger market.
  • Results: Sales have increased for local farmers and food producers, and low-income participants have increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.