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New Extension tool helps food banks improve access, nutrition, safety

Donation box with food on old wooden background.Northwest food banks and pantries can improve food accessibility, safety and variety for their communities and clients with help from a recently published tool created by Washington State University Extension researchers.

An Extension team led by WSU Professor Emeritus Karen Barale detailed development of the new Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Toolkit in the December 2018 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

The journal article details how the tool was created based on community partner experiences and food pantry feedback.

Publishing the tool last fall, Alexandra Bush-Kaufman, Research Coordinator for Community & Public Health Nutrition with Pierce County Extension, led field research with support from Associate in Research M. Catalina Aragón and Colorado State University Research Assistant Marie Walsh.

The Healthy Food Pantry Assessment Toolkit helps managers measure the healthfulness of their food banks, seeing how their pantries rank for best practices, including accessibility for people of all abilities and schedules; access to farm-fresh produce and nutritional information; variety of lean, low-fat and low-sodium foods; food safety training, nutrition classes and school programs; and other areas.

  • Find the Toolkit on the Pierce County Extension website.