Kelly Buller would like to give her 5-year-old daughter Valerie nutritious foods but also relies on what she gets from the pantry. That meant she recently walked out with bags filled with canned vegetables, Jell-O and other processed foods.
Use of a program that allows low-income people to use food stamps at farmers' markets has increased by 35 percent since it started last year, said Holly Freishtat, Baltimore food policy director.
Freishtat stressed that education needs to go along with healthful food initiatives. Not everyone may know what is truly healthful or how to prepare foods in a nutritious way.
The city has worked with the University of Maryland's Cooperative Extension program to offer classes on cooking and nutrition. And the city's Get Fresh Baltimore marketing campaign uses advertising created by local students on buses and at light rail stations and metro stops to show where fresh foods are available.
The Junior League of Baltimore is working with students from Govans Elementary School to teach them about nutrition. Meeting on Saturdays, the kids start with an exercise routine and learn about a food group. Then they make something healthy, such as a fruit smoothie.
The hope is that they will influence their families' eating choices, said Laura Calhoun, vice president of communications for the nonprofit group.
"There has been a lot of work on hunger for decades and decades around food access," Freishtat said. "But we also know we need to provide and make sure there is healthy food."