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.
 
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.
Throughout the growing season, many Wisconsinites stop by farmers' markets to grab a bite to eat, chat with neighbors and, of course, purchase fresh produce and other foods. But this type of shopping can be cost prohibitive for people who have lower or fixed incomes.
With the release of Gov. Scott Walker's 2017-19 budget proposal, Wisconsin is again debating how distribution of food stamps should work.
A state budget proposal would extend the requirement that people work 80 hours a month to receive food stamps to parents of school-aged children. It would also move forward with drug testing as a requirement for food stamp recipients.
Employment may be up in Wisconsin, but some families are still struggling to put food on the table, and it can be even more challenging for older adults.
Community groups often host food drives at various points during the year to fill local pantry shelves. Donors can enhance the value of their gifts by ensuring the food is safe, nutritious and of high quality.
People who worry about not having enough to eat cope in different ways. Some borrow money, neglect health care or defer paying bills. Many choose foods of poor nutritional value because they cost less but are filling.
Many people are looking forward to a big Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Meanwhile, Wisconsin food banks have been trying to bring a feast to those who are less fortunate this holiday season.
Wisconsin is one of 31 states and three United States territories where obesity among children living in poor families decreased, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Milwaukee County will soon be home to the largest urban organic fruit orchard in the United States.