Fresh Approach is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a big mission:
To achieve this mission, Fresh Approach has developed programs and partnerships with certified farmers’ markets, community-based organizations, local businesses, schools, public health departments, community clinics, and others in six Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Solano.
The work of Fresh Approach falls into three different program areas: Nutrition Education (VeggieRx, Healthy Food, Healthy You), Food Access (Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market), and Food Equity (CalFresh, Market Match, and WIC Outreach). These programs work to address different aspects of food access inequities and health disparities in Bay Area communities. Our ultimate goal is to be instrumental in creating a sustainable food system where people of all incomes have access to fresh, affordable, and local food; where essential nutrition education is wide-spread, enabling people to make healthy choices; and where California certified farmers remain vibrant sources of fresh food for local communities.
Whether we’re teaching families struggling with type-2 diabetes how to cook healthy meals, bringing locally grown fruits and veggies to underserved communities with the Freshest Cargo truck, or helping families find local farmers’ markets where they can use their SNAP benefits, we’re committed to building a healthier Bay Area.
Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market • Food Access
The Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market is a farmers’ market on wheels with a mission to improve access to quality local produce in underserved communities, where fresh produce is not accessible. 100% of the produce sold on Freshest Cargo is sourced from local California farms. In 2016, Freshest Cargo participated in the CalFresh Market Match program, offering a match up to $20 instead of the usual $10.
VeggieRx & Healthy Food, Healthy You • Nutrition Education
VeggieRx and Healthy Food, Healthy You are nutrition education programs for low income individuals, youth, and families. VeggieRx is a structured program intended for people with diet-related health conditions; in a series of 8 classes over 16 weeks, participants receive “prescription” vouchers to spend on produce at local farmers’ markets in addition to nutrition education, health monitoring, and hands-on activities about healthy eating. Healthy Food, Healthy You classes are offered in a shorter series (1 to 4 classes), and have been developed with the goal of helping low-income individuals, youth, and families gain the knowledge and skills they need to make better-informed choices about the foods they eat.
CalFresh, WIC, and Market Match Outreach • Food Equity
Our Food Equity Outreach Program works to connect eligible adults and families with food assistance programs such as CalFresh (SNAP) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), to help boost their healthy food budget. We also work with farmers’ markets to promote Market Match, a dollar-for-dollar fruit and vegetable incentive for CalFresh and SNAP users that is also offered at the Freshest Cargo truck.
Fresh Approach was founded in 2008 by the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association to help connect communities to the fresh produce available at farmers’ markets in their neighborhood.
We began by promoting the use of CalFresh / EBT at local farmers’ markets, as well as offering Cooking Matters, a six-week cooking and nutrition classes series, in partnership with local community-based organizations. Over the next two years we began teaching our own curriculum, called Healthy Food, Healthy You nutrition and cooking classes. This program was expanded in 2011, when Health Trust funded our first series of VeggieRx nutrition and cooking classes in San Jose. By 2012, Fresh Approach had grown to three full time staff members, an Executive director, and two Community Outreach Coordinators.
In 2013 Fresh Approach began piloting the first Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market truck, which began running routes in Contra Costa County that fall. A second truck was added to serve the Santa Clara County region in 2015. As of the fall of 2017, Fresh Approach has expanded to serve four Bay Area counties with the Freshest Cargo truck and six counties with nutrition education classes and outreach support.
These successes would not have been possible without the dedication of Fresh Approach’s team, and the amazing support of all the funders and individual donors who have supported us over the years. In addition to its ongoing partnership with the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, Fresh Approach has established partnerships with other farmers’ market operators including Coastside Farmers’ Markets, East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market, Fruitvale Farmers’ Market, Heart of the City Farmers’ Market, and Richmond Farmers’ Market.