Academic journal article Human Ecology

Smart FOOD: Anabel's Grocery Strives to Create Food Equity on Campus

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Smart FOOD: Anabel's Grocery Strives to Create Food Equity on Campus

Article excerpt

"The core Human Ecology mission is problem-solving and really engaging with the world," says Adam Shelepak '17, Sloan MHA '18. "That is the framework for how we are applying our work to Anabel's Grocery."

The mission of Anabel's, according to Shelepak, who acts as co-director of the project, is to operate a student-run grocery store on the Cornell campus, addressing the issue of student food insecurity by providing healthy, affordable food and improved food literacy.

The student team behind Anabel's Grocery, representing all seven of Cornell's schools, envisions a campus where all students have access to affordable and high-quality food without having to sacrifice their studies due to hunger or lack of nutrition.

"From an academic perspective, CHE has taught me about social inequality and community health," says Shelepak. "Classes such as Population Health with Professor [Julie] Carmalt really got me thinking about how the world interacts with health and nutrition. Simultaneously, we were observing issues with the food pantries on campus, learning about peers using them more and more, and hearing anecdotes about students skipping meals. From there, the idea of the grocery store came out."

Food insecurity is a very real issue at campuses across the country, evidenced by more than 20 percent of students skipping meals due to financial constraints, according to a Cornell Perceptions of Undergraduate Life and Student Experiences (PULSE) survey.

The team behind Anabel's hopes to curb this trend through low-cost options and subsidies for those who qualify.

"We ran through a lot of ideas, such as food pantries, subsidized meal swipe programs, and meal-sharing programs that have worked well in other schools," Shelepak says. "Ultimately, we decided on this model." At Anabel's, students who demonstrate the highest need, whether through access or finances, will be able to apply a subsidy at checkout, receiving an estimated 8 to 10 percent discount on their purchases. …

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