Food Security

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a "household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food." The Nebraska State Legislature's 2020 Research Office Report on Food Insecurity states, "People are food insecure for many reasons - not simply because they are poor. Poverty contributes to food insecurity, but it is not the sole cause. Even the non-poor may face food insecurity at times. This complexity presents a challenge to policymakers seeking solutions."

Approximately 12.2% of Douglas County's population and 19.2% of the Metro Area population have low food access, meaning they do not live near a supermarket or large grocery store. According to the 2021 Metro Community Health Needs Assessment, 35.6 % of residents in northeast Omaha, 35.1% in southeast Omaha, and 22.8% in Douglas County "often" or "sometimes" worry about food running out before having money to buy more.

Children, seniors, and those in food deserts without access to stores and affordable, nutritious food are especially vulnerable. In Omaha, eleven Census Tracts were identified as food deserts in the Legislature's report. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) help. Still, they can't fill the need alone, and not everyone who is food insecure qualifies. Vulnerabilities in the food supply chain are increasing too. As we've seen with the Covid-19 pandemic, avian flu outbreak, and extreme weather impacting U.S. agriculture. Strengthening food security ensures Omaha is a vibrant and resilient city for everyone.

Food Security Resources
Food Bank for the Heartland – Eliminating hunger in the Heartland by ensuring consistent access to healthy foods through community partnerships

211 United Way of the Midlands – maintains the most up-to-date, one-stop source for information about local food assistance and other resources available. Dial 211 from a cell phone or landline to speak with a live, highly-trained service professional. You can also chat with a resource specialist on the website, text your zip code to 898211, or search the 211 Database for assistance.