The Des Moines Area Religious Council operates the largest food pantry network in Iowa, serving 30,000 people annually. In 2009, DMARC launched Mapping an End to Hunger in Greater Des Moines to begin a systemic analysis of the problems that impact accessibility to nutritionally adequate and affordable food in Polk County, Iowa, with the goal of beginning to address the problem of hunger at its core. Data was gathered through nearly 100 consumer interviews, and more than 2,200 food resource points were identified.

The project continues to build on early findings to expand dialog, research, planning and resources beyond the historic concept of providing hunger relief, in order to facilitate a system-wide community-based model that is targeted to end hunger and improve community health in Greater Des Moines/Polk County, Iowa.
Primary Objectives:

– Identify and integrate present knowledge and planning efforts about food and hunger in the Greater Des Moines community, as well as other promising models;

– Create a vision of a system that will serve the nutrition/health needs of all citizens/residents;

– Coordinate initial development of a local food policy council to be known as the Greater Des Moines Food Research and Action Council;

– Utilize small planning teams from many community sectors and career fields and invite assessment/analysis of food resources, gaps, barriers, programs and recommended strategies through use of different logic and problem-solving models;  and

– Draft the inaugural “Greater Des Moines Hunger-Free Community Plan”.