Employees of Monsanto at two Wichita locations were among workers at almost 100 locations across the United States that donated time to local food banks and organized food collective drives in February and March as part of a company-wide Monsanto effort to fight hunger in rural America.
Wichita employees donated their time to the Kansas Food Bank to help with filling backpacks with food for school children to make sure they are adequately fed on weekends and out of school times.
While the productivity of American farmers is legendary, there is still hunger in rural communities across the country, according to the organization "Feeding America," which estimates that more than 15 percent of all households in rural America are food insecure.
The Nebraska Center for Rural Affairs analyzed hunger data for the multi-state region of Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, and selected counties in Colorado, Montana, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Many people in agriculturally rich areas don't have access to nutritious food
The analysis, "Poverty on the Great Plains," found that despite living in an agriculturally rich area, many of the people do not have access to nutritious food. Although Nebraska is one of the largest producers of red meat, corn, and other grain and livestock, 18.9 percent of rural children are considered food insecure.
Iowa had the highest rate of food-insecure children living in rural areas at 34.6 percent, according to the study. That was more than twice the rate of Iowa's metro counties.
"Any time one has to make a choice between adequate food and other expenses – such as medical bills – a household is considered to be food insecure," according to the study.
Monsanto's recent effort was part of Rural Hunger Volunteer Week, an effort to fight hunger in the very communities where the country's food supply is grown.
Monsanto pledged $3 million to Invest an Acre, a partnership that helps farmers support food banks in their communities. Other company efforts have included food drives at trade shows and donations to rural food banks.
More information about Monsanto's commitment to end rural hunger can be found at the company's website.