University of Wisconsin-Extension

Series: Food Security And Assistance In Wisconsin

About one in nine Wisconsin households faces food insecurity — a lack of reliable access to safe, affordable and culturally relevant food that supports an active, healthy lifestyle. Those who have trouble keeping their refrigerators and pantries stocked include people who are unemployed and others who are working but aren’t able to find enough hours or wages, as well as many who are children and senior citizens. A variety of safety nets — from public-assistance programs to non-profit and religious food banks — struggle to keep up with demand. Fluctuations in the broader economy add uncertainties for the needy, as do changing state and federal aid policies. At the same time, innovative projects seek to improve food security, including efforts to directly connect hungry Wisconsinites with fresh food through growers and farmers' markets.
 
As work-related eligibility rules for Wisconsin's food stamp program expand, it remains unclear to what extent the requirements already in place are having their intended effect.
One of the impacts of the January 2019 government shutdown was a change to when food stamp benefits were disbursed. David Lee of Feeding Wisconsin discussed how recipients may have to wait longer for their March benefits since February's were released early.
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Metcalfe Park Legacy Garden in Milwaukee has transformed several vacant lots into a vibrant place for community gatherings and education.
School-lunch programs have developed over the course of many decades, and their specific shape and intentions have not always been a matter of political consensus.
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On a recent hot and sunny afternoon on the north side of Milwaukee, about half a dozen Young Farmers are hard at work in their garden.
Beginning in 2019, programs like Just Bakery will increasingly be in demand as parents of children ages 6 and above in Wisconsin will be added to the list of able-bodied recipients ages 18 through 49 required to train for a job or work to earn FoodShare benefits.
Certain Wisconsin's FoodShare recipients must participated in work and training programs to qualify for assistance. Dee Hall of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism discusses changes to the states requirements.
The Trump administration has looked at reducing FoodShare benefits, suggesting that recipients could receive non-perishable food boxes instead of food stamps.
Wisconsin's new round of food stamp rules tightening work requirements also comes as a state jobs program aimed at FoodShare beneficiaries shows mixed results.
Changes to Wisconsin's public assistance laws include new work requirements for the state's FoodShare program. Feeding Wisconsin executive director David Lee discuss the implications of these new policies.