Food Systems Approach to Hunger: Worcester, MA

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Food Systems Approach to Hunger: Worcester, MA

  1. 1. Making the case to communities & foundations A Food Systems Approach to Hunger Liz Sheehan Castro Project Manager, Hunger-Free & Healthy Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council Worcester, MA
  2. 2. Agenda  Introduction  The Concept – hunger & community food security  Hunger-Free & Healthy as a case study  Working with foundations and funders  Wrap-up & Questions
  3. 3. Policy Council Hunger- Free & Healthy Staff (me!)
  4. 4. Community Food Security (CFS)  Community food security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. --Mike Hamm and Anne Bellows
  5. 5. Low Income Food Needs Broad Goals Community focus Self-reliance/empowerment Local agriculture Systems-oriented Six Principles of CFS
  6. 6. Hunger-Free & Healthy: A Case Study  Origins: Summer Feeding Project Success  Funder: Health Foundation of Central MA  Timeline: 2007-2012  Purpose: Hunger as a Public Health Issue
  7. 7. Dedicated funder Strong, cooperative coalition of organizations Evaluation Keys to Success
  8. 8. Project Components: Systems & Behavior Collaboration Communication Sustainability School Meals SNAP Cooking Classes Gardening Farmers Markets Policy Advocacy
  9. 9. School Meals  Reach: 2/3 of meals eaten in schools  Need: 70% free and reduced  Success:  16 schools have breakfast in the classroom  Whole grain, fresh and local fruits & veggies  Farm to School  10 Get Fresh, Get Local programs  No high fructose corn syrup in milk  Wellness Policy  School Nutrition legislation
  10. 10. SNAP  Need: only 49% of eligible households participated in 2004  Success (as of 2011)  30 sites throughout city  200 new Worcester families on SNAP  Minimum of $253,000 in benefits secured  80% of applicants would not have applied without mobile advocacy and assistance  In MA 77% eligible are participating  Secured ongoing funding for outreach
  11. 11. Cooking Classes  Share Our Strength Cooking Matters  Need: Cultural of convenience = lack of cooking skills  Success:  115 adults and 15 youth graduated between 2008- 2011. Classes maintained a 73% graduation rate.  73% are eating more vegetables  62% are eating more fruits  80% are eating more whole grains  47% are eating more low-fat or fat-free dairy  49% are eating more lean meats  90% improved their cooking skills
  12. 12. Educational Gardens  Need: Students have little connection to where their food comes from  Success:  Since 2010, 20 new gardens established in elementary, middle and high schools.  Teachers and principals report high usage of garden.  Has promoted cross-subject integration: health, woodworking, math, writing, community service, life skills.  Secured 3-years of Americorps VISTA support for dedicated staff.  Working on curriculum development.
  13. 13. Farmers’ Market  Need: No markets in low-income neighborhoods; none accepted SNAP, all mid-day, midweek  Success: Main South Farmers Market has 300-500 weekly attendees Continued growth of sales and attendees. Over 40% sales to low-income (SNAP/WIC/SC) Successful Mobile Market launched in 2012
  14. 14. $- $2,000.00 $4,000.00 $6,000.00 $8,000.00 $10,000.00 $12,000.00 $14,000.00 Saletotal Year SNAP, WIC, Senior Coupon Sales 2009 2010 2011
  15. 15. Policy Advocacy  Need: Sustainable Change  Success: School Nutrition Bill (MA) MA Food Policy Council SNAP Budget Increase (MA) Wellness Policy (Worcester) Relationships with local, state, fed. officials
  16. 16. Sustainability  Coalition and relationships  Regional Environmental Council Farmers’ Markets, Cooking Classes, School Gardens  Project Bread, WCFB, DTA & SNAP  Diversified funding due to early successes  Continued advocacy
  17. 17. Funding  Keys to Success Choose the right funders Make the case with data Build relationships Good writing Follow directions Budget Confidence
  18. 18. Get involved! Stay in touch! Liz Sheehan Castro hungerfree@worcesterfoodpolicy.org 508-723-4550 http://worcesterfoodandactiveliving.wordpress.com Facebook Twitter

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