Hunger in Texas Spring Break Trip Recap

Day One
Students on day one of the Hunger In Texas 2019 trip particpated in pre-field training at the Garland School of Social Work.  As seen here the group of eight students participating in team building activities. The Spring Break trip is a collaboration between Baylor Missions and the Texas Hunger Initiative  which examines food insecurity in Texas.

Day Two
Students on day two of the Hunger In Texas 2019 traveled to the South Plains Region of Texas. Road tripping meant stopping in Hico, Texas for a photo with the giant spur! Upon arrival to Lubbock they dropped in for evening church service at Hillside Christian Church. This trip is focusing on hunger & poverty, and solutions to those issues, manifest in rural and urban contexts.

Day Three
Day three of the Hunger In Texas 2019 students visited @breedlovefoods in Lubbock to discuss their efforts as a nonprofit to increase food security domestically and abroad with more than two billion meals distributed in more than seventy countries. Students participated in tasting and provided feedback on new product, toured the production facility, discussed nutrition standards and creation of shelf stable meals, and heard from CEO Bill Miller about the vision and mission of the organization.
Students also traveled to the unincorporated / micro-community of Dorghty and the city of Floydata, to meet with and observe living in a rural county.
Floyd County (which has 1 city, 1 town, 5 unincorporated areas) has a population of 6,088 people, a desnity of 8 persons per square mile making it the193rd (of 254) most populated county in Texas.  The median income in for a household in the county $26,851. About 19.50% of families and 21.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.60% of those under age 18 and 16.50% of those age 65 or over.

Day Four
Day four of the trip, students traveled to Amarillo and met with Baylor graduate (’84) Alan Williamson, Baptist Community Services community pastor regarding innovative ways in addressing food insecurity for employees in the workplace. Specifically what happens when fully employed have life happen and nutritional assitance arises? Williamson discussed the process of implementing and building replicable models to increase food security the work place.
Students then traveled to Amarillo to meet with Dyron Howell of Snack Packs for Kids where they learned about invative methods of increasing food security through program implementation, product development, community engagement, student empowerment & entrepreneurship, collaboration, methods of assessment and sustainability. They also helped to pack 728 weekend food bags for area school age children.

Day Five
Day five, students met with community members at Tova Coffee House, a non-profit coffee shop which focuses on furthering holistic poverty solutions in Lubbock. Rooted in the scripture Isaiah 58:10 “..spend yourself on behalf of the poor,” the mission is to break cycles of poverty in the community. The name TOVA means good in action. Profits and platform are shared with local organizations that are effectively working to interrupt cycles of poverty with long-term, sustainable solutions. The programs connect community members to meaningful and effective engagement in local poverty. So every cup of coffee creates sustainable change in our community.
Students also met with members of the regional Hunger Free Community Coalition to discuss collaborative impact taking place to increase food security through action teams (Child Hunger, Hunger & Horticulture, Food Action for Seniors Team). Additionally, Baylor students discussed the Double Up Food Bucks program which doubles SNAP dollars for fresh local grown produce with markets in Lubbock, Plainview, Tulia, and Amarillo.

Day Six
Students started out the day visiting the Sustainable Food Center’s urban garden in Austin and meeting with Alex Canepa regarding the role of policy to address issues of food access. Founded in 1993, with roots dating back to 1975 as Austin Community Gardens, Sustainable Food Center is involved in every step of our local, Central Texas, food system. SFC’s mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. SFC envisions a food-secure community where all children and adults grow, share, and prepare healthy, local food. From seed to table, SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system. Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes, and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the long-term health of Central Texans and our environment.

Students met the Food policy Manager for the City of Austin in the Office of Sustainability, Edwin Marty about the food system landscape.
Edwin is the City of Austin’s first Food Policy Manager. He has consulted on numerous urban farm projects around the country, helped establish the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and co-authored a book about urban farming in America called Breaking Through Concrete, published by University of California Press. Edwin is responsible for advancing initiatives that support the creation of a healthy and just local food system for Austin. In that capacity he:
*Bridges and connects City departmental programs, policies, and procedures that impact the local food system to create alignment and optimize outcomes.
*Engages with community members and organizations to inform neighborhood food system strategic planning and connect stakeholders with City resources.
Serves as the City’s staff liaison – and food policy expert – to the Sustainable Food Policy Board.
*Works to raise awareness about food-related issues, motivate positive action to improve long-term health, and promote initiatives to strengthen community resilience.

Students met with Assistant Commissioner for the Texas Department of Agriculture, Angela Olige who oversees the Food and Nutrition Division to discuss statewide administrative oversight for the operations, policy development, strategic planning, and financial management of 12 federal nutrition programs with a budget of more than $2.8 billion in Texas. These programs have an impact on the state’s public, private-nonprofit and charter schools as well as numerous residential child care institutions, food banks, and other community and faith-based organizations.

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