This community collaboration, prompted by a sense of possibility around involving many residents in fostering new cycles of fresh food abundance, an awareness of – and a commitment to ending – food insecurity in our community and the opportunity to conduct research in partnership with Vassar College, began in 2010.  In 2011, this joint initiative, implemented as a collaboration of several lead partners, including the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Dutchess Outreach, Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, Dutchess County Department of Health and Vassar College, was one of only 10 projects nationally to be awarded a highly competitive two-year assessment and planning grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.  Grant funds supported the completion of the following objectives between March 2011 and March 2013:

  1. The completion and dissemination of a community food assessment that identified a large percentage of Poughkeepsie residents (26.8%) as food insecure, among many other quantitative and qualitative findings.
  2. Community visioning and participatory planning, documented as a plan to bring about a hunger-free city that emerged from a series of 19 community food forums culminating in a citywide action planning forum that resulted in recommended projects and the identification of working groups for implementation.
  3. The establishment of a coalition to advocate for policy change and coordinate projects in support of the plan (see #2).

The Poughkeepsie Plenty Food Coalition began operating in 2012, and was officially established as of July 1, 2013.