Fresh Approach was founded in 2008 by the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. Staff and Board members of PCFMA saw a need to better connect communities to the fresh produce available at farmers’ markets in their neighborhood.
Fresh Approach began by offering Cooking Matters, a six-week series of cooking and nutrition classes in partnership with local community-based organizations around the Bay Area; and attending community outreach events to promote the use of CalFresh/EBT at local farmers’ markets and the Market Match incentive program. Fresh Approach continued with community outreach and began offering their Healthy Food, Healthy You nutrition and cooking classes in partnership with local community-based organizations, health departments, and WIC program sites until 2011, when Health Trust funded Fresh Approach’s first series of VeggieRx in San Jose. By 2012, Fresh Approach had three full time staff members, an Executive director and two Community Outreach Coordinators, and received their first multi-year grant for VeggieRx from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
In 2013, Fresh Approach was offering VeggieRx and Healthy Food, Healthy You classes, participating in community outreach events, and piloting the first Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market truck “CiCi” which began running routes in Contra Costa County in fall 2013.
By 2015, Fresh Approach was operating two Freshest Cargo trucks with routes in Contra Costa and Santa Clara County on multiple days. VeggieRx programming had seen 338 people graduate at least six out of eight classes, and 142 VeggieRx graduates had lose weight during the four-month program. Healthy Food, Healthy You nutrition and cooking classes were attended by more than 600 people in 2015 alone; and Fresh Approach team members attended community outreach events regularly to offer healthy eating tips and recipes, and promote the use of CalFresh/EBT at local farmers’ markets and the Market Match program. By the close of 2015, Fresh Approach had grown to 9 staff members, as well as having greatly expanded its programs and partnerships to actively offer programming in six Bay Area counties including nutrition and cooking classes, community outreach events, and mobile farmers’ market routes.
These successes would not have been possible without the dedication of Fresh Approach’s team, and the amazing support of all our current and past funders as well as the individual donors who have supported Fresh Approach 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.