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W.K. Kellogg Foundation enhances health with MSU Food and Community Connections

By Lois Furry

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded a $700,000 grant to the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University in support of the group’s plans to develop and coordinate “Food & Community Connections.” Food & Community is a $32 million Kellogg Foundation-funded program that focuses on creating healthy places where all children can thrive with access to both good food and physical activity. The MSU team, led by Dr. Michael W. Hamm, the C.S. Mott Chair of Sustainable Agriculture, will undertake key activities to engage national organizations in the Food & Community network.

According to Hamm, these activities represent an “evolved” version of the approach his group piloted during the launch phase of the Kellogg Food & Fitness Initiative in 2007, one of several continuing partnerships between the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU.

“In the last 15 years or so, the Kellogg Foundation has been the predominant funder for sustainable food around the country,” said Hamm. “The foundation has been a very strong partner with Michigan State University in our work to expand sustainable food efforts. The Kellogg Foundation has paved the way for other foundations now developing funding strategies for the kind of work that Kellogg has been supporting in Michigan and across the United States.” In 2010, the Kellogg Foundation supported the C.S. Mott Group’s first-of-its-kind Good Food Summit. At the summit, stakeholders from every region of Michigan – including 40 high school students and a large number of residents from Detroit and Flint – came together to help shape a plan to guide Michigan’s food production, distribution and marketing systems in ways that support equity, sustainability and a thriving economy. The Kellogg Foundation also supported an effort by the Mott Group to join forces with the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Food Policy Council to develop the Michigan Good Food Charter. The charter lays out an evidence-based plan to make it as easy to get food from Michigan’s rural and urban farms as from the global marketplace, by 2020. The charter aims to enable Michigan citizens to grow, sell and eat food that is healthy and affordable, while also being produced in a green and sustainable manner that is fair and results in no exploitation along the lines of production. Over 78 groups, organizations and individuals endorsed the charter with many more in process, including leadership in state government.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.”