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The purpose of this research is to examine the food infrastructure (grocery stores and food safety net services) available to meet the food needs of people living in high poverty rural places. Random mail surveys (n=1,516), purposeful in-person surveys (n=665), and market basket food price surveys of 130 USDA Thrifty Food Plan items in 16 grocery stores in six rural counties in Iowa and Minnesota provide data for this analysis. We find that Iowa rural users of food safety net services are more likely to depend on others to get to the grocery store (5.6-6.2%) compared to similar population in Minnesota (3.1-3.5%). The general rural population is more likely to perceive local institutions are working together to solve food access problems than users of food safety net services. Minnesota average rural food prices are significantly higher than in rural Iowa grocery stores during similar time periods. Minnesota stores have significantly more costly fresh fruits and vegetables, canned fruits and vegetables, breads and cereal, milk and dairy products and meat and meat alternatives. We conclude that rural residents may share similar food infrastructure but experience it differently depending on income, food insecurity, food prices, transportation and how local government and church leadership engage in solving community food problems.



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