A community of ‘doers’

The Appalachian Community pulls together to address food insecurity in the High Country

North Carolina has a higher-than-average food insecurity rate — 16 percent, ranking it eighth among the United States for the number of people who lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life.

In comparison, a total of 13 percent of Americans were considered food insecure between 2013-15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. 

When the Appalachian Community explores a social problem like this, it doesn’t “just talk.”

“I’ve never been surrounded by so many doers,” Dr. Jacqui Ignatova said about the culture at Appalachian State University. “We don’t just talk here. We’re also committed to doing work that advances positive social change.”

Ignatova teaches in the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development and was a co-organizer of the 2017 Food Summit that brought together people interested in relevant issues such as food insecurity and agrobiodiversity conservation.

The following stories explore how she and others at Appalachian use innovative thinking and action to approach the issue of how to feed America:

A lot of people go hungry in the High Country for complex reasons. Dr. Adam Hege, a public health researcher, looks at the problem to see how residents cope in Watauga and Caldwell counties.

Appalachian State University is known for innovative thinking and creative research, especially around sustainability. Its people also dig deep with community partners to find solutions to ongoing problems, including food insecurity.

When hunger hit home for Appalachian students (almost half admitted to being food insecure one year), a group on campus went to work on a convenient, nurturing solution.

Millennials have been compared to the generation that came of age in the 1960s for their restlessness and desire for change. Simply educating millennials about an issue doesn’t cut it — they want sustainable change and instruction from their university on how to create it.