Keystone 21 Awards Grants To Food System Projects

January 04, 1998

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Keystone 21, a partnership between Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and the Commonwealth Educational System, and the Rodale Institute, has funded two projects designed to enhance understanding about the food system among consumers, producers, processors, retailers and the media.

The projects were awarded Keystone Grants, which can total up to $30,000 per year to a maximum of $75,000 for three years. The projects are:

"Expanding the Dialogue About the Food System: Using a Media Forum to Enhance Communications Among Food System Stakeholders," a collaboration between Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. As part of this project, a media forum will be held in Philadelphia in the spring of 1998, bringing together newspaper reporters and editors, radio and television news staff, food industry professionals, agricultural producers, consumers and others. Perceptions and issues related to the food system, food safety, diet and nutrition, and media coverage of these topics will be discussed. The forum will serve as a model for similar events planned for several other regions of Pennsylvania. Supporting video and printed educational materials will be produced as a guide to forum organizers. Spin-offs of the forum could include the creation of continuing and professional education and outreach programs for dietitians, journalists, radio and television producers, teachers, cooperative extension agents, scientists, farm organizations and others; college credit courses in agricultural journalism; an annual "Foods and the Media" conference; creation of a rapid-response team of scientists able to speak accurately and articulately to the media about complex food system issues; and other initiatives.

"The Allentown Food Enterprise and Education Project," a collaboration between the Community Action Development Corporation of the Lehigh Valley and the Rodale Institute. Focusing on economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in downtown Allentown, organizers will work with regional food producers, processors and vendors to produce and sell fresh and nutritious foods to area residents. Food-related enterprises will be encouraged as a vehicle for urban community development and consumer education. The educational component of the project includes the development of community-based learning programs to promote the growing and eating of healthy fresh food as a key element to better living. Local producers will receive technical assistance in growing and marketing fresh and organic food, and food merchants will receive guidance in establishing educational programs -- aimed especially at women and children -- showing the link between proper nutrition and health. Organizers expect to obtain support and participation from a cross-section of the community, including food shop retailers, restaurateurs, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation, neighborhood residents and the general business community.

Keystone 21 is seeking proposals for the next round of Keystone Grants. The application deadline is February 15, 1998. For more information, contact Elise Gurgevich, Keystone 21 project coordinator, at 814-865-0114 or send e-mail to Chuck Gill 814-863-2713 814-865-1068 fax

Last Updated March 19, 2009