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Noteworthy!

  •         Healthiest State Initiative-The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led public initiative intended to inspire Iowans and their communities throughout the state to improve their health and happiness. To achieve our goal, individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector will unite in a community-focused effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. To measure our progress, we use the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®. In 2014, Iowa ranked as the 16th healthiest state in the nation. Our ranking has moved higher since the Initiative was announced, but we still have work to do to claim the #1 spot. http://www.iowahealthieststate.com/about/
  •         Healthy Food Access Portal- In 2009, PolicyLinkThe Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund launched a campaign, with partners and stakeholders from across the country, to raise public awareness and educate policy makers about the limited and inequitable access to supermarkets and grocery stores in both rural and urban America.  The Healthy Food Access Portal harnesses a vast array of data and information to support the successful planning and implementation of policies, programs, and projects to improve access to healthy foods in low-income and communities of color. The Portal is designed to help people access resources related to healthy food access policy efforts, funding opportunities, and successful retail strategies.  strengthen a community of learning and practice.
  •         Partnership for a Hunger Free Polk County- The purpose of this consortium is to facilitate better coordination among food safety-net providers. One of Urban Dreams board members wrote an editorial about hunger in Des Moines and a Polk County supervisor read the editorial. When Urban Dreams staff was looking for funding for garden program they learned hunger statistics. The Polk County Supervisor, John Mauro, asked Urban Dreams to put together a group of people to work on a plan for a hunger free Polk county. The group is currently working on a structure and will soon seek funding from the county and other funders. One part of the project is real-time map of food pantries in Polk County. The maps may be found at http://apps.polkcountyiowa.gov/GISMapping/MapViews/FoodPantry
  •         WIN - Wellness and Independence through Nutrition – This initiative covers Polk, Warren, Dallas and Madison counties. This is a food assistance outreach project. People least likely to take advantage are most in need - older adults. The project presents fun, interactive presentations to seniors and older adult and gets them together to talk about nutrition and applying for SNAP. CA goal is to change perception of SNAP as a giveaway program to a health program. Having seniors maintain their health is economical.
  •         Farm to Food Donation Project – A tax credit encourages growers to donate ready to consume food to food rescue, pantries, shelters, and they receive a tax credit They are working to help farmers know how to donate and working with food pantries to make more pantries feel confident that they can accept perishables. They want to get the word out about the credit which maxes out at $5,000 for 1 year. Farmer sets the value of the donation.  
  •         Healthy Polk 2020- Twenty five food, hunger and nutrition leaders gathered in September to check in on work related to the Healthy Polk 2020 priority Ensure access to affordable, healthy food for everyone. Discussion and problem solving was held to advance five new projects related to the priority. Those projects are: · Establish a mobile food pantry · Strengthen relationships within the food community · Improve communication within the food community · Create a community food plan · Develop a campaign to get agencies to help with online sign-up for food (SNAP)
  •         Iowa Hunger Summit- The Iowa Hunger Summit gathers leaders from across Iowa representing community organizations, business and industry, state and local government, social agencies, churches and religious communities, schools and universities, and other individuals and groups that lead or participate in projects to confront hunger. The 2014 Iowa Hunger Summit was attended by over 700 hunger fighters from across the state. The goals of the Summit are to: Celebrate the many outstanding efforts of Iowans toward ensuring adequate food for all; Encourage Iowans to continue and expand these efforts; and Increase statewide awareness of hunger, poverty, and related issues. The Iowa Hunger Summit is free and open to the public
  •         Free Produce Stands in Polk and Dallas Counties- People can get FREE fresh fruits and veggies on a first come, first-serve basis provided by Food Bank of Iowa and Dallas County Public Health.
  •         Robotic Retail Food Market Plan- the first fully-robotic grocery store could come from an unexpected place — a non-profit organization called Eat Greater Des Moines. The store is a drive-through kiosk that allows customers to order groceries entirely by touchscreen. Product is then brought to the customer by a system built around a robotic conveyor belt with an "extractor" at the end. The store is the result of a partnership between Eat Greater Des Moines and a business equipment firm called Oasis24seven. The plan is to deploy the fully automated stores in food deserts for those who do not readily have access to grocery stores. The robotic stores can reportedly hold from 200 to 800 items weighing up to ten pounds each, and the stores allow for refrigeration. The stores are intended to operate at any time of day.
  •         Food Bank of Iowa Mobile Food Pantry- A mobile pantry is a farmer’s market style distribution targeted toward counties with a need for additional pantry service. Mobile pantries provide an additional strategy toward bridging the food assistance gap, specifically in rural counties in our service area, by providing an additional access point for food.  The need for a mobile pantry is based upon the amount of food being distributed by our partners in a county while also taking in to account the total number of partner agencies in a particular area. The primary focus is to distribute fresh produce, protein, and non-perishable items to counties in our service area where pantry access does not exist or resources are very limited – particularly to our more rural areas. Second is to spotlight communities where hunger needs are not being met to build awareness of the issue and hopefully lead to more permanent solutions.
  •         DMARC- Move the Food Mobile Food Pantry- Move the Food is a DMARC-led initiative to address the entire food system in Greater Des Moines, building on nearly 40 years of food assistance work, catalyzing fresh generations, and engaging new constituencies to further support a vision for a day when everyone in Polk County has enough to eat.
  •         New Pantry at Riverplace- The Polk County Board of Supervisors; Polk County’s Community, Family, Youth Services Department; and the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) have partnered to develop a pantry at the River Place Food Pantry at 2309 Euclid Ave in Des Moines. The pantry opened in March and has quickly become the busiest food pantry in DMARC’s network of pantries, serving nearly 10,000 individuals to date, most of which are new to the food assistance network.
  •         South Suburban Y- Pick a Better Snack and Meet, Eat and Learn- The Y’s “Pick a Better Snack” program is a partnership with Des Moines Public Schools and Hy-Vee; the program allows kids who participate in DMPS’ summer meal program at the South Suburban Y site to try healthy snack options every Thursday. Another new feature at the Y is a community garden planted on the grounds just last week. The garden features 20 trees, ranging from apple, peach, pear, serviceberry, and cherry, as well as a raised bed garden with grapes, rhubarb, and strawberries. While it’s expected to take about three years for the trees to mature enough to bear fruit, the idea is to create a learning and gathering space where members of the community can access free, healthy food. Gardening classes and other educational programming will also be held at the community garden.
  •         Forest Ave. Outreach- Forest Avenue Outreach acquired a free piece of land in the Riverbend neighborhood and are putting together a community orchard. This is a cooperative garden and is open to any person willing to volunteer at least 2 hours a week. Participants plant, maintain and harvest together and share in the produce from the garden. Any produce not taken by participants is distributed door to door through the neighborhood and/or donated to local food pantries. They want to use it as an outdoor classroom and gathering place for the neighborhood, and they want something sustainable and replicable - think of it more as a gathering place that grows some fruit.. 
  •         Hispanic Retail Project- Tienda in Perry to increase fresh produce in Latino market
  •         Focus Groups- Anawim and Salvation Army conducted focus groups to learn about what people want in the robotic retail market
  • 211-When you don't know where to turn for help, 211 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free confidential access to health and human services information and referrals, as well as peer counseling. Information and Referrals for: emergency shelters, food & clothing pantries, counseling, employment, support groups, affordable housing, volunteer opportunities, rent or utility assistance, and much, much more. Telephone interpreters are available for most language.