Our mission is to help end the interconnected epidemic of hunger, obesity and diabetes rampant in low income communities in America. We do it by providing the healthiest food and the tools to turn it into great tasting, healthy meals.
Our cost for a healthy meal is only 30 cents, which is a small fraction of just the incremental medical expenses associated with unhealthy food.
1 cup
Fresh produce
1/4 cup
Dried grains
1/4 cup
Dried beans
1 tbsp
1 tbsp
Healthy Oil
667 Calories for 30 cents

What We Do

The Smart Food Foundation provides whole grains, dried beans, nuts, healthy oil, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and cooking spices, along with cooking and nutrition education to help recipients turn these natural foods into healthy and delicious meals.

We buy in large bulk to keep our food costs to a minimum and depend entirely on volunteers. Our fully loaded cost is only 30 cents per meal.

We expect to provide ingredients for 2.5 million healthy meals in our first year of operation. But our larger goal is to help improve the diet of food insecure communities whether they are eating food that we provide them for free, or whether they are buying the food themselves.

It's a myth that healthy food needs to be more expensive than unhealthy food. Even at retail prices, the cost of a healthy delicious meal is only about $1 if you know which ingredients to buy and how to cook it.

With the right knowledge, meals based on the healthiest natural ingredients are less expensive, tastier and much healthier than processed foods.

Why We Do It

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 49 million Americans live in households struggling against hunger. About 16 million are children - over 20% of all children in this country.

Through SNAP and a variety of charities, food insecure Americans don't starve in America. Instead they tend to get unhealthy highly processed foods, heavy in sugar and empty calories, that spike insulin levels and soon leave them even hungrier than they were before. It's created a situation where the poorest, most food insecure Americans are the most likely to be obese and diabetic. More than 1 in 3 low income adult Americans are obese. Almost 1 in 5 low income adult Americans have type 2 diabetes, though nearly all cases could be prevented with a healthy diet.

It's also helped create a health care crisis in this country. Annual medical expenses are $1,500 - $3,000 higher for obese Americans than those of normal weight. Annual medical expenses are on average $7,700 higher for Americans with diabetes than those without. Amortizing higher medical costs over meals eaten in a year, the cost of a meal that leads to obesity is $1.31 - $2.50. The cost of a meal that leads to diabetes is more than $7 per meal.

Investing in healthy food for food insecure Americans not only dramatically improves the quality of life for millions of low income Americans, but it pays for itself many times over just in terms of lower medical expenses.