Posted on February 16, 2022
By Michelle Mieden, Ehab Yimam and Fred Butler
Dr. Marianne LeGreco is an Associate Professor and a Graduate Program Director at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She specializes in organizational and health communication, research methods and food policy, along with being an advocate for food security in the Greensboro community and surrounding areas. Dr. LeGreco moved to Greensboro from Arizona in 2007 when she began to notice the issue with food security and how it is perceived.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Greensboro has 17 census tracts or neighborhoods facing high rates of food insecurity. For most communities, that means they are experiencing high rates of poverty and low food access. Dr. LeGreco has been teaching Communication Studies students about this ongoing issue of food insecurity and how a stronger community can aid it. This grant from the UNCG-based National Communication Association’s (NCA) Center for Communication, Community Collaboration and Change would help Dr. LeGreco and the farmers markets in Greensboro make food more accessible and affordable for people in this ongoing pandemic.
Covid-19 has affected people in many ways. There are a lot of people in the Greensboro community who have struggled with food security during this pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic so the need for affordable food began to rise. Feeding America projects that food insecurity increased from 13.1% to 15.1% in Guilford County during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Neighborhood Markets saw evidence of this increase through their Green for Greens program. SNAP/EBT usage at the markets quadrupled in the first six months of the pandemic, as compared to the previous year.
This grant from the NCA-CCCC created the opportunity to partner with community groups who are doing an amazing job uplifting community members. The NCA-CCCC is an organization that has been deeply involved with the community for some time. With this grant they are working specifically on multiple projects that tackle food insecurity, initiate conversations and engagement among people who can influence public policy and practices through democracy tables and efforts with the beloved community center. This grant is put in place behind the notion that the more we democratize the practices in our community, the greater our community will benefit. It will be more resilient and able to sustain a future of its own making. This grant will be used to directly affect those in need in our community. We believe this grant can and will have positive effects in these communities.
Some additional examples of Dr. LeGreco’s past community-engaged work includes:
Michelle Mieden is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who will be graduating in the Winter of 2021. She is a Communication Studies Major and hopes to go into event planning once graduating. She enjoys the fine arts, design, social and pop culture, and writing.
Ehab Yimam is a junior and will be graduating in the Spring of 2022. He is a communication studies major and will minor in media studies. During his time at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Ehab developed a passion for effective communication and wanting to learn what it takes to be a great leader. He hopes to one day work in the media industry as a journalist or in social media management.
Fred Butler is a senior that will be graduating in May of 2021, he is a Communication Studies major and minoring in Media Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he hopes to get into one of if not all three of the following industries; public relations, journalism, and marketing/ brand management.