West Virginia State University is the latest historically black college to receive federal support towards researching food quality, announcing this week its receipt of a $894,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture for food security initiatives.
The funding will support two genetic research projects at the land-grant HBCU, which officials say will benefit academic and professional training experiences for undergraduate and graduate students at the school, while supporting farmers and community food security throughout West Virginia.
“To receive this level of funding speaks volumes about the talented research and teaching faculty at State,” said Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, vice president for research and public service. “These projects directly address the food security needs identified by the USDA, with direct impact on both farmers and consumers here in West Virginia.”
Research published in 2013 suggested that more than 90 percent of counties with predominantly African American populations experience high levels of family access to nutritious fruits and vegetables, a rate twice as high for comparable white, non-Hispanic communities. Counties in Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana were cited among the nation’s worst.
In Feburary, Tuskegee University’s College of Veterinary Medicine received a patent for detecting food-harming bacteria.