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Food Equity in Rural Southwest WI: Increasing opportunities for BIPOC leadership is essential

Updated: Jul 1

Based on county data, anywhere from five to ten percent of community members in rural Southwest WI identify as BIPOC but the leadership within Community Hunger Solutions and our partner organizations doesn't reflect this diversity. Current systems are failing to engage BIPOC leaders in a meaningful way. This means that a significant amount of work is being done in hunger relief in our area without the input from up to 10% of our community.


Since we all have different lived experiences, for hunger relief to serve every member of the community it must be shaped by every member of the community. In response to this power imbalance, Community Hunger Solutions created the Rural Southwest WI Food Equity Project(FEP).

"If done well, this project has the power to shift the trajectory of the entire local food movement in our area towards true equity. There's real power in that."

The FEP creates connections between CHS and members of our community who identify as BIPOC and a platform for them to influence local hunger relief efforts, starting with Community Hunger Solutions.


Community Hunger Solutions is partnering with Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers, Thoreau College, two interpreters, a racial equity educator and other key stakeholders from the area to conduct a food equity assessment. Through the course of this assessment, CHS will make connections with individuals of Color who have experience with food insecurity and other circumstances that affect food access including housing insecurity, mental and physical health problems, identifying on the spectrum of LGBTQIA+, and experience with domestic violence.


"The FEP creates connections between CHS and members of our community who identify as BIPOC and a platform for them to influence local hunger relief efforts..."


From this diverse pool of community members, CHS will recruit an Accountability Committee which will meet several times a year to help inform CHS projects and general programming and offer equity improvements to interested hunger relief partners, farmers, and food retailers. Members of the committee will be paid for their time, and meetings will have childcare and a free meal among other accommodations, ensuring our most vulnerable community members are able to participate. The Accountability Committee will ensure that CHS is able to respond to future emergencies like (most recently) the flooding of 2016 and 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable way.

"Current systems are failing to engage BIPOC leaders in a meaningful way... This means a significant amount of work is being done in hunger relief in our area without the input from up to 10% of our community."

Community Hunger Solutions has been designing the Rural Southwest WI Food Equity Project for four years. I have learned so much through the course of this project's development and am looking forward to seeing it transform the way Community Hunger Solutions serves our community. If done well, this project has the power to shift the trajectory of the entire local food movement in our area towards true equity. There's real power in that.


- Jeanette Burlingame, Program Manager

Any donation amount from $5 to $500 shows support for this project within our community.

Please don't hesitate with any amount you're able to share!