Addressing Food Insecurity in Bennington County
In spring 2019, Bennington College was awarded $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a three-year collaborative effort with local partners to address the systemic causes of food insecurity in Bennington County.
Food insecurity—the inability to access affordable, nutritious food—affects one in eight Americans, or approximately 40 million people, and is particularly acute in southern Vermont. This collaboration aims to both address the pressing problem of food insecurity in the area and to develop an interdisciplinary and responsive humanities curriculum with students, faculty, and the community, creating a model from which other higher education institutions can learn and build.
Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services (GBICS) is a community-based nonprofit organization working with people who live in or near poverty in Bennington County. GBICS runs Kitchen Cupboard, a food distribution program that serves over 1,300 families in Bennington (one in four) per year.
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union is a public school district serving approximately 3,000 students from prekindergarten through high school in the towns of Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury, and Woodford. SVSU provides free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Southwestern Vermont Health Care is an integrated medical health system that includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a 99-bed community hospital in Bennington. SVMC is committed to addressing acute issues of food insecurity through programs including Prescriptions for Food, Grateful Hearts, and the Healthcare Shares/CSA Program.
Executive Director, GBICS
Community Development Director, Town of Bennington
SVSU Assistant Superintendent
Extension Associate Professor: Agricultural Engineering, UVM Extension
Regional Director, VT Land Trust
Director of Public Policy Programs, CAPA; VT State Senator
Kristi Cross DNP, RN
Director of Bennington Blueprint, SVMC
Program Director/Community and Economic Development, Bennington County Regional Commission
Alex Dery Snider
Director of Communications, Bennington College
Stephanie Gates SNS
Director, Food Service SVSU
Bennington College Faculty
Bennington Regional Director, Vermont Department of Health
Bennington College Faculty, Visual Arts/CAPA
Program Manager, RiseVT
Maureen O’Neil SNS
Director, Abbey Food Service
Interim President, Bennington College
Director, CAPA, Bennington College
Director, Bennington County Regional Commission
Curator, Bennington College
Director, Hospitality Services, SVHC
Director of Planning, SVHC
Bennington County Head Start and Early Head Start Health Manager
APPLICATION: Community Resource Fund
The Community Resource Fund seeks applications for implementing catalyzing, collaborative projects that further our understanding of local food systems and leverages innovative solutions to address food insecurity in Bennington County. Projects can involve—but are not limited to—data analysis; research; amplifying existing projects in the community; designing new models or structures for implementation; and/or business development.
News and Updates
Save the date for the following community events:
Food Insecurity Coverage
October 9, 2019: Food Insecurity Work Moving Forward at Bennington College (Bennington Banner)
October 4, 2019: Bennington College Starting New Population Health Fellowship with SVMC (Bennington Banner)
Save the date for the following community events:
- September 21: Bennington Empty Bowls Workshop
- September 26: Agriculture and a Changing Climate
- October 5: Bennington Empty Bowls Workshop
- November 17: Bennington Empty Bowls
- November 18: Soul Fire Farm Lecture
The Community Resource Fund is now seeking applications for implementing catalyzing, collaborative projects that further our understanding of local food systems and leverages innovative solutions to address food insecurity in Bennington County. Apply by October 15.
At Bennington College, Fall term courses in food insecurity research have begun, including:
- Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington County, led by Susan Sgorbati
- Social Kitchen: Ceramics, Food, and Community, led by Yoko Inoue
- Introduction to Food Studies, led by Tatiana Abatemarco
- Gender and Agriculture: Market and Substance, led by Tatiana Abatemarco
If you are a researcher or activist working to address food insecurity in Bennington County and are interested in connecting with this cohort of partners, please reach out to Susan Sgorbati.
July 25, 2019: Bennington College to Provide Free Summer Meals (Bennington Banner)
June 21, 2019: A Collective Approach to Addressing Hunger in Bennington County (Vermont Public Radio)
June 10, 2019: Bennington College to Explore Local Food Insecurity (WAMC)
May 28, 2019: $1 Million Awarded to Address Systemic Causes of Food Insecurity (Press release)
Questions about the project?
For Media Inquiries
Alex Dery Snider, Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs