What is the Community Food Experience?
Many people in our communities across Maine do not know where their next meal will come from. We call this food insecurity, meaning they do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead an active, healthy life. These community members are also disproportionately impacted by diet-related diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The Community Food Experience simulates the challenges many face and explores both barriers to access and the impact food insecurity has on community health. As a discussion-based activity, it also encourages taking action – becoming part of the solution to this complex yet addressable community health issue.
What to Expect: The Community Food Experience can be facilitated with groups of 20-50 people starting at age 12. In this simulation, there are 16 Community Member roles and eight Merchant/Service Provider roles. Community Members are asked to purchase, or access through community services, a daily allowance of nutritious food. Each Community Member has a unique scenario that may include having children, a health condition, being a senior citizen, etc. Some Community Members have access to transportation, nutrition programs, or benefits, and some do not. Through this simulation experience, participants begin to understand the complexity of hunger and food security issues and explore the impact they can have on individuals and the community. It is a powerful tool to engage, educate, and empower the community to take action through service and advocacy.