Tag Archives: SNAP

TSU co-hosts virtual conference on food insecurity, build alliances to address rising hunger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is co-hosting a virtual conference that will address food insecurity in communities across the country.

The first annual 1890s Multi-state Conference is May 18-20. TSU is hosting the conference with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and Alabama A&M University (AAMU). Each university will host one day of the conference: TSU on May 18, UAPB on May 19, and AAMU on May 20.  

The conference will feature community-focused conversations on addressing the adverse impact of food insecurities, as well as provide opportunities to network, engage and chat with community partners, non-profit organizations, and cooperative extension team members.  

“It is our hope that this conference will join all 1890 institutions together to extend our reach and resources to build strong local food systems and decrease food insecurity in the communities we serve across our nation,” said M. Shea Austin Cantu, community nutrition education program director at TSU.

She said the conference will also include the launching of a “Community of Practice on Food Accessibility and Security,” where attendees can join and collectively work to build strong local food systems and “turn the tide on rising hunger across our nation and the world.”

This event will also feature a virtual silent auction. If you would like to bid on auction items, visit:  https://www.facebook.com/1890SNAPEd. All proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Mid-South Food Bank.  

The conference is free, but in the spirit of increasing food accessibility, donations are being accepted for the Mid-South Food Bank at https://midsouthfoodbank.harnessapp.com/wv2/campaign/4059.  

Also, don’t miss an opportunity to earn continuing education units, or CEUs. To sign-up for CEUs, contact M. Shea Austin Cantu at [email protected]. There is a $20 fee for CEU registration. The CEUs are for 16 hours of education or 1.6 CEUs.  

To register or to see a full program agenda, visit www.multi-state-conference.com. To receive updates, follow the conference Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/1890SNAPEd. For more information, contact Ebony Lott, Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Western Region Area Specialist at [email protected].  

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to Host KNOW Hunger SNAP Challenge May 29

Tyson Foods and Elanco Partner with Urban League of Middle Tennessee, TSU Cooperative Extension and Community Food Advocates to Educate Leaders on the Misconceptions of SNAP Benefits


KNOW-Hunger-SiteNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Area lawmakers will gain first-hand knowledge on what it’s like to try to feed a family for a week on limited resources when they take part in the SNAP Challenge Thursday, May 29 on the Tennessee State University campus.

Hosted by the TSU Cooperative Extension program, the KNOW Hunger Challenge will take place at the ‪Farrell Westbrook Complex (the Barn) from 1 until 5 p.m.

The Challenge, presented by Tyson Foods and Elanco, is an interactive event designed to increase awareness and fight food insecurity by offering education and nutritional opportunities through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and firsthand experience with the challenge families face in a budgeted shopping experience. The Urban League of Middle Tennessee is also part of the two-year partnership initiative.

According to Tyson officials, the event is significant because millions of low-income families struggle to provide their families with nutritious meals despite benefits from SNAP, with one in five Tennesseans enrolled in the program.

“Many people can’t fathom feeding a family on $100 per week,” said Jeff Wood, Tyson Foods’ director of Community Relations. “We do this programming to help people understand what SNAP really is, and what it’s not. The experience is very eye opening for most people. Having gone through the challenge myself, I can tell you it’s life changing.”

The SNAP Challenge features teams of legislatures and other elected officials that will be given $100 each to shop for a week’s worth of food for a family of four.  Tennessee State University SNAP-ED educators, as well as hunger advocates from across Tennessee will help teams make their purchases.

The teams are charged with shopping at a local store, then return to the University where their purchases are presented to a panel of judges. The food will be judged on effective use of funds, nutritional value and culinary creativity.

Following the event, the food purchased will be donated to The Nashville Food Project.

“This nation-wide challenge has taken place across the country and serves as a reminder just how difficult it can be to buy food for a family of four when faced with limited resources,” said Rita Fleming, assistant professor of Health Education. “We will have three of our Cooperative Extension SNAP-Ed agents providing assistance on how to make healthy choices on limited funds.”

According to Fleming, the TSU Cooperative Extension program mission is to help educate and provide information to limited resource urban and rural individuals, families, small farmers, and other groups.

“We use a variety of program delivery strategies,” she added, “offering practical and useful research-based programs, resources, and publications in agriculture and natural resources, family & consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community resource and economic development.”

This SNAP Challenge is part of KNOW Hunger Nashville, a two-year initiative by Tyson Foods, Urban League of Middle Tennessee and area food advocates to raise awareness of food insecurity and nutrition education. The organizations will also host local health fairs, thought leadership exercises and educational opportunities. The group hosted a health fair with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Wellness Project last November and plans to launch a website with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee later this summer that’s designed to help families stretch their food resources further.

Elanco and Tyson Foods created the half-day SNAP Challenge in the spring of 2012. Since that time, 18 groups comprised of more than 450 people have participated.

For more information, contact Fleming at 615.963.2135.



Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.