Hidden in Plain Sight: Community Food Security Needs

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Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation


Car keys and the checkbook are commonly misplaced around the house and discovered later hidden in plain sight. The food security needs of individuals and households in our communities may similarly go unnoticed and be hidden in plain sight. Margaret Wheatley (2009, p. 29) suggests that “most significant social change starts with a simple conversation among friends.” For the New River Valley Glean Team, the community initiative to address food security can be traced to a single survey question asked as part of a community conversation ten years ago: “What is the most pressing issue facing communities in the New River Valley?”Hamm and Bellows (2003, p. 40) wrote that “community food security is achieved when all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes self-reliance and social justice.” The NRV Glean Team and the Thrive Network was formalized to ensure all people in the New River Valley have adequate access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food.