Feeding Louisiana, Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), and the world’s first urban intelligence platform developer, UrbanFootprint, collectively known as “the partners,” today released an in-depth analysis on the state of food insecurity across the U.S. and Louisiana in particular, as the food security crisis in the nation continues to intensify. The report found that 19.5 million U.S. households are food insecure, a growth of 45% since March 2020. Food insecurity measures socio-economic vulnerabilities and reliable access to nutritionally adequate food. In food-insecure communities, families are forced to make tradeoffs between important basic needs such as food, medical care, and paying rent.
Using UrbanFootprint’s Food Security Insights tool, the first-ever dynamic data index to track the scale and distribution of the evolving food security crisis, the partners aim to empower agencies and front-line organizations to understand the changing scope of food insecurity across the communities they serve and help make more informed policy, relief, and resource distribution decisions.
“We’ve always known how many meals our foodbank network partners provide and how many people are enrolled in programs like SNAP,” said Korey Patty, CEO of Feeding Louisiana. “What we’ve been missing, however, is the denominator: a clear understanding of how many households are food insecure and where these households are located. Food Security Insights fills this gap, allowing us to understand the true scope and scale of the problem and the progress we’re making.”
By combining current economic, socio-demographic, and community-scale data, including dynamic economic stress and sentiment data, UrbanFootprint’s Food Security Insights provides the ability to map and measure the geographic distribution of food insecurity and food insufficiency at the national, state, regional, city, and neighborhood levels. As a result, agencies, food bank networks, and community organizations are empowered with the information needed to better target resources and relief to the individuals who need it most.
Key insights from the report are below; the full report can be found here.
- Of the 19.5 million U.S. households that are food insecure, 12.2 million report food insufficiency, or not having enough to eat at some point in the last week.
- Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma round out the top 5 U.S. states facing food insecurity.
- 9 of the top 10 states with the highest rates of food insecurity are concentrated in the South.
- 23% of Black households in Louisiana are food insufficient compared with 7% of white households, demonstrating how minority communities are disproportionately affected.
This report builds on work started at the beginning of the pandemic by the partners to address food relief challenges on the ground across Louisiana. Offering first-hand insights from the frontlines of the food insecurity crisis in the state, Feeding Louisiana and CPEX provided invaluable knowledge to shape the scope, scale, and capabilities of Food Security Insights to tackle the crisis locally, and ultimately around the globe.
“As the pandemic took hold in Louisiana, we quickly saw that food insecurity was impacting our residents on a new and rapidly-changing scale. This is a place-based problem -- where people live is directly connected to whether and how they are experiencing food insecurity,” said Camille Manning-Broome, President & CEO of CPEX. “The Food Security Insights tool is an innovation that allows us to harness the power of planning and mapping to connect families -- especially seniors and children -- to the resources they need to stay nourished and healthy.”
The partners have already put a beta version of the Food Security Insights tool into action over the past several months. Feeding Louisiana, for example, is using Food Security Insights to advocate for strengthened federal and state hunger relief programs and to coordinate action amongst their member food banks. Second Harvest, a leading food bank network, is building a partnership network to support their emergency food distribution work in ten rural parishes. Similarly, The Louisiana Budget Project, a policy advocacy organization, is using Food Security Insights to help New Orleans Public Schools identify high-need communities to enroll in their No Kid Hungry Meal Program.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the organization responsible for SNAP and other benefit programs in Louisiana, is also slated to use Food Security Insights to support front-line teams and local partners to help close the ‘SNAP Gap’, targeting their outreach to hard-to-reach communities with low program participation rates. DCFS will also use Food Security Insights to communicate internally to its almost 1,850 Family Support Division staff and measure their progress towards achieving their strategic goals.
“Food insecurity across the U.S. was an immense challenge before the start of the pandemic and has only been intensifying since. Today, the Biden Administration and countless relief organizations across the country are looking for new solutions to tackle this escalating crisis,” said Joe DiStefano, CEO & Co-Founder of UrbanFootprint. “In order to truly understand the scale of the problem, while also having the ability to hyper-target essential aid and reach those who are most in need, ground-level, dynamic data is absolutely critical.”
UrbanFootprint is the world’s first urban intelligence platform, empowering those who build our world to design a more efficient, equitable and resilient future. UrbanFootprint serves governments, enterprises, and other stakeholders with comprehensive, granular, and context-rich data about the urban and natural landscape, paired with highly targeted insights that map and measure risk and opportunity, to prioritize investments and resources where they’re needed most. To learn more about UrbanFootprint, please visit: https://urbanfootprint.com/
About Feeding Louisiana
The Mission of Feeding Louisiana is to be a unified voice for Louisiana’s hungry by providing short-term food relief while seeking long-term solutions to hunger through advocacy, education, and leadership. Feeding Louisiana was created by the five regional food banks within the state to support their collaborative efforts to accomplish statewide policy, advocacy, and food and fundraising objectives.
About Center For Planning Excellence
Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) is a non-profit organization that drives urban, rural and regional planning efforts in Louisiana. We provide best-practice planning models, innovative policy ideas, and technical assistance to individual communities that wish to create and enact plans dealing with transportation and infrastructure needs, environmental issues, and quality design for the built environment. CPEX brings community members and leaders together to work toward a shared vision for sustainable growth, climate change adaptation and resilience. Since our founding in 2006, CPEX has been involved with the planning efforts of more than 30 Louisiana cities, towns and parishes. To learn more about CPEX, please visit: https://www.cpex.org/