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Farm Fresh Nourish! Improving health and economic opportunity



Update spring 2023


Sowing Seeds for Health


Spring has sprung, and generous donor support is at work sowing seeds for health as Second Harvest moves forward with expanding Farm Fresh Nourish! this growing season.


"Farm Fresh Nourish! is just a win-win all around,” said Sheri Cordell, Second Harvest’s Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Project Manager. “The goal is to increase the availability of produce at Second Harvest’s partner food pantries and offer ongoing educational information to individuals and families experiencing diet-related conditions, such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol."


Small-scale growers in rural communities benefit from reliable markets (Second Harvest purchases CSA shares). Families who struggle to buy sufficient groceries want and need access to nutrient-dense foods. And ultimately, there can be a reduction in community healthcare costs.


Last year, 29 farms participated in Farm Fresh Nourish! along with 14 Second Harvest partner food pantries. The majority of partnering farms were women- and BIPOC-owned.


One participant living in Ashe County was thrilled to share, "I've lost weight, and I'm off my medication!"


New this Season


"This year, we'll be adding 11 new farms," Sheri explained. "Our Nutrition Educators will also be leading a three-part, in-person nutrition education class series focusing on general nutrition, diabetes management, and heart health to the ongoing text messaging program we launched at the start of Farm Fresh Nourish!": December 2022


The 2022 Farm Fresh Nourish season is complete! Word in the fields and streets that it was a success for farmers, pantries, and most importantly participants.

  • 29 farms participated this season (7 single farms plus High Country Food Hub with 22+ farms from which they receive produce).

  • The majority were women-owned, and 3 farmers identified as BIPOC communities.

  • Produce shares have included items such as: cucumbers, squash, lettuce, green beans, kale, chard, spinach, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, spring onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, NC apples, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.

  • 14 of Second Harvest's food assistance program partners participated, distributing a total of 4,980 shares (43,000+ pounds of produce).

  • Beyond supporting the health of families where at least one individual is experiencing diet-related health concerns, the estimated local food system economic impact of this year's Farm Fresh Nourish! Program was $241,292.

Survey data from participants on the program's impact on disease management and fruit and vegetable consumption is being compiled this month and will be reported in January. 2023. We're excited that local farms and pantries are already approaching Second Harvest about next year's program!


With gratitude to our funding partners:

  • Centenary UMC

  • Foundation for a Healthy High Point

  • Rotary of Winston-Salem

  • The Health Foundation, Inc.

  • Highland Presbyterian Church


 

Benefits of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC’s Farm Fresh Nourish! Program extend beyond boosting fresh produce in partner pantry food boxes.


As Second Harvest uses generous donor support and grants to purchase produce from local farms (following the Community Supported Agriculture - CSA model), Farm Fresh Nourish! addresses systemic poverty, individual health, and economic opportunity.


“This is just a win-win all around,” said Sheri Cordell, Second Harvest’s Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Project Manager. “The goal is to increase the availability of produce at Second Harvest’s partner food pantries and offer on-going educational information to individuals and families about their diet-related conditions, such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The local economy benefits because we’re purchasing CSA shares from farmers so that families have access to more nutrient-dense food. As well, ultimately there’s a reduction in healthcare costs,” Cordell said.


In 2022, the program is operating in six counties, with 29 farms providing produce to 14 local pantries. Funders include Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina, Centenary Methodist Church Mission Team, Larson Family Foundation, and Wilkes Medical Center Foundation.


In Watauga County, the Hunger and Health Coalition (HHC) welcomed the opportunity to extend its partnership with Second Harvest through Farm Fresh Nourish! Healthy food has been a focus of HHC for about seven years,” HHC Grants Coordinator Ben Loomis said.


“Second Harvest has always been behind us, making what we do possible,” Loomis said. HHC obtains about one-third of its food from Second Harvest and built up its produce programs in recent years. The Food Bank also channels other resources, including grants to HHC and other food assistance agencies in its network, which enables the agencies to expand their efforts. HHC used a recent grant from Second Harvest to add to its cold storage capacity for fresh produce.

Another grant through Second Harvest enabled HHC to hire a graduate assistant as a dietitian for its Mobile Food Satellite. HHC partners with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, which screens patients for food insecurity in all its medical offices and refers them with a prescription to HHC for a food box tailored for their individual health needs. HHC is collaborating with leaders of the Medicaid Healthy Opportunities Pilot Project and Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina to identify ways to track health outcomes.


In Guilford County, José Abreu is Growing High Point’s Farm to Table Coordinator, charged with managing urban farms on four lots in the city and coordinating the Farmer in Training Program. Partnering with Second Harvest is playing a vital role in growing this project. As Abreu explains it, the CSA model typically is not easily transferable to low-income communities. With CSAs, customers pre-pay for a season’s worth of produce, an expense a low-income family cannot afford.


Thanks to funding from Foundation for a Healthy High Point and Farm Fresh Nourish!, Growing High Point will provide 60 shares of seasonal produce weekly to Life on Lexington Church’s food pantry.

“Growing High Point is transforming communities through agriculture,” Abreu said. “We’re paving the path to a better future through farming.”



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Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

3655 Reed St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27107

hello@hungernwnc.org

Tel: 336-784-5770

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