Publication Types Archives: Research Papers

The Pittsburgh School Food Environment: Strength and Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Public School District

The Pittsburgh School Food Environment report coverAuthored by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, this report is the result of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council’s (PFPC) year-long partnership with Harvard and Pittsburgh Public Schools to better understand the challenges faced by schools in our city, to identify best food policies and practices in Pittsburgh and comparable cities, and to highlight recommendations for future work.

Just Harvest is a member of the PFPC and helped to lead this effort.

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Too Many Pennsylvanians Remain in Poverty

Too Many Pennsylvanians Live in Poverty report coverNew data released by the Census Bureau on September 17th show that poverty remains stubbornly high. In Pennsylvania, 13.6 percent of people were poor in 2014 – roughly the same as in 2013 when 13.7 percent were poor. The child poverty rate also remains stuck, with 19.4 percent of Pennsylvania children living in poverty in 2014 – the same as in 2013 when 19.4 percent of our children were poor. Disappointingly, our country’s economic recovery is hardly reaching Pennsylvania’s poor, and progress remains slow.

Nationally, the poverty rate fell slightly from 15.8 percent in 2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014. However, even if poverty keeps declining at the current rate nationally – an extremely optimistic estimate – it would still take more than 25 years just to cut poverty in half across the U.S. It would take even longer – nearly 35 years – to bring child poverty down to that level.

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Barriers to Benefits

Barriers to Benefits - a Just Harvest reportRecipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (“food stamps”) frequently call Just Harvest for assistance with overcoming obstacles in obtaining and maintaining benefits through the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). To deepen our understanding of the frequency of the problems applicants face, food stamp consumers were surveyed about their experiences applying for and receiving those benefits, and test calls were made to the publicly available phone numbers of DPW’s Customer Help Lines and County Assistance Offices located within Allegheny County.

The results of these surveys and test calls illustrate that the department is failing to provide consumers with basic service at a level that is necessary for obtaining and maintaining benefits.

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A Menu for Food Justice: Strategies for Improving Access to Healthy Foods in Allegheny County

A Menu for Food Justice: Strategies to Improving Access to Healthy Food in Allegheny CountyWritten for Just Harvest by Zachary Murray during his time with us as an Emerson Fellow of the Congressional Hunger Center in 2012-13, the report is a comprehensive assessment of the food desert status of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County’s most vulnerable communities.

View the Executive Summary

Read more about the report release

 

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