Getting Back Underway
While the garden is closing down for the summer as our students, staff, and faulty are all returning to their classes, we are able to refocus our attention from growing food back to our research efforts on student food security and food access. We are very excited to have been one of 10 universities in the state to be able to be awarded the “Hunger-Free Campus” designation, and to be able to leverage the additional funding that came from this new opportunity, which will be helping to support our ongoing surveying efforts, and new food access programming.
We have just been able to hold our first official meeting after receiving the designation, in anticipation of students returning to the campus this Fall, and our Campus Hunger-Free Task Force is very excited to be developing and expanding our institutional supports for accessible foods for our campus community. With support from this funding opportunity, we hope to be able to reach at least four times as many respondents as we have been able to in the past. The task-force will also be able to formally start new university-wide initiatives, including offering new educational sessions for the campus community about the SNAP registration process, and starting a meal-swipe donation program, for students to be able to anonymously receive donated meal-swipes for the campus food services. We are also exploring ways to help increase accessibility of off-campus grocers.
This first semester back from our hybridized and remote learning will be a very exciting and challenging time for our task force, but we are all very excited to have the opportunity to be taking on this work. These new projects will be running for at least two more years, and we are planning on cementing them as new permanent parts of our institutional operations.
About the Grantee
The team at Montclair State is based out of the Division of University Facilities and the Campus Community Garden. We're combining efforts on this grant project to improve food security and pedestrian safety on campus. Our core team consists of Adeline Cochran, Sustainability Coordinator and Chris Snyder, MPH, Garden Founder/Coordinator.