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NIH Grant Received to Study 'Super' Food Shelves in Minnesota

By Laura Bohen, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

The University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, was recently awarded a $3.2 million National Institute of Health (NIH) grant to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of healthier food shelves in Minnesota. University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff will be instrumental in the evaluation process.

The study will evaluate the impact of the Super Shelf program. The Super Shelf program is a holistic approach to transforming food shelf environments to provide healthier food and a dignified client experience.

three posters of colorful fruits and veggies
An example of wall art used with the Super Shelves program

The Super Shelf program began through a SNAP-Ed funded collaboration of the Metro Food Access Network with University of Minnesota Extension, The Food Group, Valley Outreach Food Shelf, and Health Partners as founding partners.

Super Shelf founding partners are already working with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health on an evaluation of two metro-area food shelves using the Super Shelf program. That smaller evaluation is funded through Duke University.

The NIH study kicks off May 2017 and will take place over five years. The evaluation team will select 16 food shelves across Minnesota. Eight food shelves will receive the Super Shelf program immediately. The other eight food shelves will be “delayed controls” and will receive the program after the first eight have been evaluated and results compared to the control sites.

SNAP-Ed educators, in partnership with Valley Outreach, The Food Group, and Family Medicine and Community Health staff, will deliver the program using a “consultation” model, in addition to providing direct education opportunities. The grant also provides funds for a community advisory board of food shelves, food banks, and clients to advise the process.

For questions about Health and Nutrition's part in this project, please contact Laura Bohen or Jamie Bain.

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