Unemployment rates are the No. 1 concern for American citizens. The general economy, dissatisfaction with the government, and poor health care follow close behind, as cited in a 2014 Gallup poll. Rural communities in particular suffer from uncertainty about the economy.
Rural counties and communities can often deal with significant economic transitions and reduce uncertainty when they work together as a region while engaging multiple stakeholders, said Scott Tate, a former community viability Extension specialist. However, most rural areas lack such networks.
“So much economic activity happens across county lines, but some regions don’t have a long history of working together. Or, if they do, they don’t always bring the necessary partners to the table. Stronger Economies Together provides an opportunity to map regions, think about who the stakeholders are, and invite new people to the conversation,” said Tate.
More than 46 million people receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly called the food stamp program — to purchase food staples like milk, bread, vegetables, and meat.
Recent research has shown that a typical family receiving SNAP benefits falls short of meeting basic nutritional recommendations, despite having sufficient monetary resources to eat a healthy diet.
As it turns out, time trumps money when trying to achieve nutritional targets, according to Wen You, associate professor of health economics and applied econometrics, and her colleague George C. Davis, professor of health economics and applied econometrics.
“The current SNAP benefit calculation doesn’t specifically take into consideration the time it takes someone to actually cook a meal,” You said. “A single-headed household with the household head working more than one full-time job will struggle to find enough time to shop and cook a healthy meal from scratch.”