In 2004, the FPC conducted a community food assessment and market basket survey in Lents. Its purpose was to determine whether Lents residents were food insecure and, if so, how gaps in the neighborhood’s access to food could be addressed.
The assessment found that, although residents were satisfied with the grocery stores in their neighborhood, many of them nevertheless experienced food insecurity (not being sure where their next meal was coming from). Those surveyed indicated that they wanted to learn more about buying and preparing fresh food, growing their own food and shopping at a nearby farmers market.
In 2005, the FPC received funding under the Robert Wood Johnson Healthy Eating by Design program (HEbD). Under this program, the FPC was part of a team that worked in Lents to provide home gardens, cooking classes for youth and adults, and a children’s summer camp at Zenger Farm. The funding was also used to assist the Lents Food Group, a new community group spawned by the community food assessment.
Under the HEbD program, the FPC is working with government agencies to determine how to replicate this pilot food assessment project in other Portland neighborhoods, with the aim of reducing the region’s hunger and food insecurity. The Lents HEbD team recently received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award as its most effective community-based project in the country.