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Food Insecurity- the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food
— United States Department of Agriculture

The Problem

Up to 1 in 6 students face food insecurity.

  • 7.5% of on-campus students are food insecure
  • 18.3% of off-campus students are food insecure
  • 15% of total students are food insecure 

Over 6000 undergraduate students are identified as being food insecure.

Food Insecurity is cyclical.

Food insecurity can be caused by a number of factors, such as not having enough hours at work, external personal events, seasonality, and accessibility. Some weeks may be easier for people to get food than others, and for the weeks that it's hard to get food, what do people do?

If someone's food insecure, they'll often fall back onto unhealthy, costly fast food options. 

In order to be well read, you must be well fed.

Studying is hard enough, imagine studying while you're hungry or unsure where your next meal is going to come from. 

Food Security at Ohio State University

Data provided by Ohio State University Office of Student Life

The Three Pillars of Food Insecurity

Geographic Barrier, Financial Barrier, and Educational Barrier

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Geographic Barrier

The majority of students live over a mile away from a fully stocked grocery store, requiring either a car or a bus trip to access. These trips, even simple trips, take a minimum of an hour to complete, and that can be hard to fit in during the week. 

If students don't have access to a car, they'd be forced to haul bags onto a bus and walk even further with all of their groceries. These experiences make buying food a painful experience and lead to students often just eating fast-food on High Street. 

Employment Rates Among Food Insecure Students.png

Financial Barriers

Students already burdened with tuition and rent often hold a job in order to survive and feed themselves. The weight of the debt can lead to students sacrificing their nutrition (and their grades as a result), especially when their work schedules are inconsistent.

Ohio State University jobs prevent students from working more than 20 hours per week, requiring students to be clever with their budgeting to get by.


Educational Barrier

A lack of proper education is one of the most prominent causes of food insecurity.

Exposing new types of fruit and produce to students widens their palates and provides new avenues of nutrition.

Educating students on proper food safety and storage helps maximize shelf life and nutrition of the foods.

Providing easy, affordable recipes teaches students how to use the food they buy from Best Food Forward.

Budgeting money for food is a useful skill to provide a uniform and predictable source of food week by week.