Haven from Hunger

Haven from Hunger: A service learning and community development project at Eastern Oregon University

Long-term project goals

  1. Increase community and household food security and alleviate hunger. About one in seven area residents experiences chronic food insecurity (uncertainty of supply) or hunger.
  2. Build social capital. Haven from Hunger seeks to work with those already working on this problem, to strengthen community food networks and campus/community collaboration on hunger-related, food-producing and poverty reduction activities.
  3. Build a student-run organization to coordinate and manage the project.

Project objectives. We seek to address our goals by:

  • Working with community partners, providers of food assistance and food production/provision (e.g., gleaning).
  • Raising awareness of the local problem and reducing the stigma of receiving/seeking food assistance.
  • Finding meaningful ways to involve those experiencing hunger and food insecurity in our activities.
  • Integrating student participation via curricular and extracurricular means.
  • Conducting research that illuminates local food security and hunger issues and identifies service learning opportunities.

Project priorities:

  • Create a process for soliciting broad-based participation among community partners, local farmers and gardeners, faculty (including Oregon State University agriculture and OHSU nursing programs), students, administration and people affected by food insecurity;
  • Build a student run organization with faculty oversight
  • Collect information on local hunger to help better identify community needs;
  • Develop projects driven by local input and perceived need of participating parties;
  • Develop a curricular mechanism for connecting service learning opportunities with developing and ongoing projects, to ensure adequate student participation to support projects;
  • Use the development of the organization itself as a service learning project;
  • Strengthen social capital and networks of food and hunger aid in the area.

Principles

  • Student-driven with faculty oversight
  • Community engagement
  • Ensuring continuity
  • Participatory planning
  • Complement (and thus learn) what others do, not duplicate effort
  • Strives to understand and communicate tot he community the meaning of hunger and food insecurity from those who experience it
  • Social capital building (building relationships with local businesses, schools, food aid providers and community members)
  • Sustainability–projects need to seek means to sustain themselves, identify stakeholders
  • Addressing multiple goals (initiatives not only address local problems but provide opportunities to strengthen classroom learning, raise awareness of hunger and food insecurity, increase donations, etc.)
  • Use of research to illuminate problems and evaluate the impact of collective efforts

For more information on Haven from Hunger, contact Bill Grigsby (bgrigsby@eou.edu) or Linda Jerofke (ljerofke@eou.edu).