2017 Nourishing Networks Workshop- Wayne County, WV

WV FOODLINK and WVU-Extension are happy to announce that we will be hosting our 2017 Nourishing Networks Healthy Food Access Planning Workshop in Wayne County, WV from 10am -7pm on Friday, April 21st 2017. The workshop will be held at Heritage Farm Museum in Huntington and will focus on healthy food access planning in Wayne County. Our goal is to create exciting new spaces for food access planning at the the local level!  With generous support from the USDA, Benedum Foundation, Sisters Health Foundation, McDonough Foundation and WVU we are pleased to announce that attendance and registration are free.

The workshop experience will include:

1. WV FOODLINK presentation of our Community Food Security Assessment for Wayne County

2. Access to Healthy Food Planning Tools – WV FOODLINK will introduce an interactive online atlas tool that presents information about food access in your county in West Virginia. Participants will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the food access issues by engaging with media based on unique sectors such as the emergency food network, government entitlement programs, school meal programs, and alternative programs.

3. Work in teams to do a localized assessment – We provide training on how to shape the future direction of community food work in your area

4. Work in teams to create a healthy food access plan – Work with others from diverse backgrounds to identify problems and develop sustained efforts towards improving food access for a specific geographic region.

5. 2 meals included + networking opportunities with other healthy food access advocates across Wayne County and the state.

Location details: Pioneer Hall, 3300 Harvey Road, Heritage Farm Museum Huntington, WV


Nourishing Networks Wayne (2)

Need to update your Food Assistance Agency Data?

If you have taken our survey and your data is reflected in our online mapper and Nourishing Networks Portal and you need to update or fix an error with your agency, please click on the following link and fill out our survey.

Food Assistance Agency Survey

If you are an alternative food assistance agency (i.e. community garden, mobile farmers’ market, CSA program etc.) please fill out this form. Thanks!

Alternative Food Assistance Agency Survey

Nourishing Networks Workshop Schedule


We are looking forward to welcoming over 60 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds in food systems work to Morgantown for our first Nourishing Networks workshop later this week.

Nourishing Networks WV icon

Click Here for The Program

We expect the workshop to spur conversations about the state of food access in West Virginia and the various strategies to address it and encourage participatory action through food systems planning exercises at the county level using the tools we’ve developed over the past couple years.

Stay posted next week for news and reflections on the workshop.

WVU Hunger Awareness Week 2016

Hunger Awareness Week 2016!

The WVU Food Justice Lab, OXFAM America at WVU, UNICEF Campus Initiative at WVU, WVU Center for Black Culture and Research, Peace Corps, and the WVU Office of Multicultural Programs are proud to announce WVU Hunger Awareness Week 2016 from Monday, April 18th-Saturday, April 23rd.  We are hosting a series of events throughout the week that are open to all WVU students, faculty, and staff. 

Food Chain$ Documentary Showing: Monday, April 18th from 6:00-8:00pm in the Gold Ballroom of the MountainLair. Join the WVU Center for Multicultural Programs, WVU Food Justice Lab, OXFAM America at WVU, and UNICEF Campus Initiative at WVU for a showing of the documentary Food Chain$.  Food Chain$ explores the human costs of America’s food system by documenting tomato workers’ efforts to bring justice to the fields of Florida.  Free pizza will be provided.


Food and Healing: The KISRA Story: Tuesday, April 19th from 7:00pm-9:00pm in the WVU MountainLair Rhododendron Room.  Join us for a community dialogue on race, food, and healing hosted by the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research and WV FOODLINK.  Lecturers include Carl Chadband (CEO of Kanawha Institute of Social Research and Action (KISRA)), Ture Johnson (Farm Supervisor at KISRA), Megan Govindan (Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, WVU Nutrition), Taya Williams (Coordinator of WV Office of Min
ority Health), and Mohamed Ali (WV FOODLINK Outreach Coordinator).  The event will be moderated by Dr. Bradley Wilson (Director of the Food Justice Lab, WVU Geography).


Girl Rising Movie Showing: Make a difference for girls around the world, come to the screening of Girl Rising! The showing is in the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theatre on Wednesday, April 20th 7 PM – 9 PM.  Meet a recruiter from the Peace Corps and learn how you can join the global movement.

GIrl Rising

WVU Hunger Banquet 2016: Saturday, April 23rd from 6:30-8:30pm at Towers Hall Blue Ballroom.  Join WVU Food Justice Lab, OXFAM America at WVU, and UNICEF Campus Initiative, and WVU FirstHand for an interactive hunger- awareness dinner.  The place where you sit, and the meal that you eat, are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty. The banquet will be an open forum to discuss the issues surrounding hunger on a local and global scale. Dr. Bradley Wilson, Director of the Food Justice Lab, will share stories of struggle for food sovereignty both domestically and internationally.  Tickets are available for purchase (by donation) at the MountainLair April 18th-22nd or at the event.


Nourishing Networks Workshop: Register by Friday, April 15th for Discount!

WV FOODLINK of the Department of Geology and Geography is excited to announce that it will be hosting the Nourishing Networks: Food Access Planning Workshop on May 19th and 20th, 2016 at WVU. The workshop will address improving food access for urban and rural communities, preventing hunger, and discussing the food desert problem in WV. We invite any interested parties, be they students, professors, community members, non-profit workers, health professionals, or public servants, to register and attend.

Participants will receive exclusive access to WV FOODLINK tools such as our Community Food Access Portal (which allows organizations and individuals to create their own maps using WV FOODLINK data), our Nourishing Networks Report on the state of food access in West Virginia, and our Participatory Action Research Toolkit, designed to teach stakeholders how they can contribute to and be a part of the WV FOODLINK research project.

All workshop participants will receive training on how to use these tools to make a difference in their communities. The registration fee covers the costs of 5 meals and there will be many opportunities to network with other anti-hunger advocates across the state. If you register before Friday April 15th there is a 50% discount on the registration fee! You can find the online registration form here: http://bit.ly/1L7xVlh

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Bradley Wilson at Bradley.Wilson@mail.wvu.edu .Final Draft Workshop Edit 3.15 (3)

Food Justice Internship: Summer 2016

Interested in Food Justice? Want to get class credits and participate in an engaging, paid internship this summer? Contact Joshua Lohnes at jlohnes@mix.wvu.edu to learn about registering for the Food Justice Internship, GEOG 494, at WVU this summer! CRN# 52780Summer 2016 - Food Justice Flyer (1)

Beyond the plate: award-winning author to share experiences as an undercover worker in America’s food industry at WVU April 8

Interested in learning about the relationships between food and class?  Join the WVU School of Public Health for a public presentation by author Tracy McMillan titled “Labor, Economics and Politics: How the Working Poor Eats”.  The presentation will take place on Friday, April 8, at 11:30 a.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center North, Room 1905 at West Virginia University.

Follow the link to learn more!


WV SB 626 Shelved in House Health Committee

Yesterday, WV FOODLINK, WV Food and Farm Coalition, and American Friends Service Committee WV scored a huge victory for food justice at the WV Legislature.  Thanks largely to the research conducted by WV FOODLINK staff, SB 626 (which threatened to exacerbate the food desert problem for over 351,000 West Virginians) has been shelved in the House Health Committee. Thank you to everyone who helped with reaching out to house delegates to educate them on this bill.

“Push to Limit WV Food Stamp Benefits Appears Dead” http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160303/push-to-limit-wv-food-stamp-benefits-appears-dead

SB 626 clouds efforts to improve healthy food access in WV

On February 18, 2016 SB 626 was introduced “requiring the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to seek a waiver within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to allow that benefits issued under the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program be limited to purchases with the same or similar nutritional value as purchases allowable under the Women’s, Infant and Children Program.”  This policy sounds healthy but we need time for a closer look.  SB 626 in its current form generates dangerous confusion about the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women’s Infants and Children Program and how both program’s nutritional standards are regulated.  DHHR, the Department of Agriculture and the people of WV need to understand the intent of SB 626.

West Virginians need to know more about SB 626.  359,000 SNAP beneficiaries should have the power to choose where they shop for SNAP eligible foods and 1,892 food retailers need time to adapt to higher nutritional standards.

The USDA’s SNAP and WIC standards establish eligible foods that must be stocked by retailers and may be purchased by eligible beneficiaries of these federally funded programs.  In 2014, the USDA’s SNAP program invested $476,134,200 in food retail and household nutrition in WV.  In the same year the WIC program invested $26,254,988 to support mothers and small children.  1 in 5 WV citizens depends on these programs.  1,892 retailers depend on these federal funds as a source of income.  SNAP and WIC are essential to the nutrition and health of our state.  Raising standards or restricting access without a clear rationale for doing so can have negative impacts.   Indeed, the USDA opposes state-level food restrictions of SNAP because as they write:

  • No clear standards exist to define foods as good or bad, or healthy or not healthy;
  • Food restrictions would pose major implementation challenges and increase program complexity and costs;
  • Restrictions may not change the nature of participants’ food purchases;
  • No evidence exists which indicates that food stamp benefits directly contribute to poor food choices and negative dietary outcomes, such as obesity.

USDA-“IMPLICATIONS OF RESTRICTING THE USE OF FOOD STAMP BENEFITS” http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/arra/FSPFoodRestrictions.pdf

SNAP and WIC programs are very different; not only because of who is eligible and what they can spend their benefits on, but even more importantly the requirements for eligible nutritious food items that retailers must stock.  To participate in the SNAP and WIC programs retailers MUST meet federally mandated food stocking criteria.  In West Virginia 1,892 retailers currently meet SNAP requirements and are offering 3 items in the 4 staple food groups.  However, only 293 retailers in WV are currently certified and audited to meet WIC requirements.  Stores that meet the higher WIC requirements for stocking nutritious food tend to be located in higher income areas, are not evenly dispersed throughout the state, and tend to be met by grocery stores, many of which are locally-owned (see map on reverse).   Restricting use of SNAP benefits only to foods that meet WIC criteria could deepen the food desert problem in WV and undermine people’s power to make healthy choices.

 Legislators should not … Restrict the use of SNAP benefits to meet ambiguous nutritional standards.  It is not sound policy to improve our health and reduce food insecurity in WV.

 Legislators should … support the USDA’s proposed rule to that requires retailers to expand the stock of nutritious retail items to seven or more varieties in the four staple food categories to receive SNAP certification.  (RIN – 0584-AE27 – February 17, 2016)

Contact: Dr. Bradley Wilson – brwilson@mail.wvu.edu

Don’t let ambiguity in SB 626 cloud efforts to improve healthy food access in WV.

Legislators, DHHR, the Department of Agriculture, retailers and consumers should know more about the intention of the required waiver and why the state needs SB 626.

  • Why contradict the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services opposition to restrictive policies that decrease food security, deepen food deserts, and reduce the consumer’s right to food in our state? (See reverse)
  • Provide evidence that restricting the eligible items that individual SNAP beneficiaries can purchase will not unfairly burden people who cannot access a sufficient variety of those items at existing retail stores in their vicinity?Senate SNAP Bill FoodLink

Areas in green are the only places with access to various retailers that supply a variety of WIC eligible foods.  Imposing restrictions can deepen food access problems for SNAP beneficiaries. 

 Alternately legislators may wish the bill to achieve greater access to healthy food by:

1) Increasing access to healthy food by requiring retailers to meet elevated nutrition standards proposed by USDA on February 17, 2016.

2) Coordinating a nutrition fund through the Heathly Food Financing Initiative that supports retailers to meet elevated SNAP and WIC requirements.

3) Help increasing funds to DHHR or Dept of Agriculture to meet the increased costs of certifying 1892 SNAP certified retailers and meet elevated nutritional standards.