Fresh Approach’s Healthy Food/Healthy You program provides nutrition education classes, healthy food outreach, and food preparation demonstrations throughout the Bay Area. The goal is to help low income Bay Area families gain the skills and knowledge needed to prepare affordable healthy meals at home. Thanks to the support of Kaiser Permanente and other local funders, as well as dedicated organizational partners, Fresh Approach is able to offer many Healthy Food/Healthy You classes to community based organizations free of charge and classes are always free for participants.
In 2014, Fresh Approach taught 40 Healthy Food/Healthy You classes and attended 42 outreach events (health fairs, community resource fairs, and other special events). At outreach events, Fresh Approach typically staff a table with information on local healthy food resources, recipes, important health information, produce giveaways, and more. Classes offer an opportunity to delve a little deeper into specific topics such as how to select and store fresh produce, eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables, and how to eat healthy on a budget. Each class also features a recipe demonstration using fresh produce from a local farmers’ market.
Community partners are essential to the Healthy Food/Healthy You program. Rather than offering classes at our office, Fresh Approach partners with community
based organizations throughout the Bay Area to offer Healthy Food/Healthy You classes as a resource for their communities. In 2014, Fresh Approach attended 40 outreach events in partnership with 19 different community organizations, and taught Healthy Food/Healthy You classes at 16 different locations throughout the Bay Area.
After each class, Fresh Approach conducts a short survey with class participants. The data gathered shows just how much Healthy Food/Healthy You classes help:
63% of participants learned a lot about shopping at farmers’ markets and shopping healthy on a budget. While some Healthy Food/Healthy You class participants are already seasoned farmers’ market shoppers, for many participants shopping at farmers’ markets is a totally new experience. Class participants learn how to make fresh, healthy, and affordable purchases while shopping on a budget and that buying locally grown produce in-season can be a way of getting the best flavor and the best deal. Class participants also learn about Market Match and how to use CalFresh benefits at participating farmers’ markets.
81% of participants learned a lot about preparing a new recipe and why fruits and vegetables are good for them. Each class includes an interactive recipe demonstration that features seasonal produce from a local farmers’ market. The recipes chosen are simple and delicious, and use ingredients and tools that most families already have in their kitchen.
79% of participants learned a lot about how to include more healthy foods in their diets. Class instructors often share additional ideas on how to use the produce featured at the class and how to adapt the recipe to include different fruits or vegetables. Many class participants have expressed that they know they should eat more fruits and vegetables, but are often intimidated or unsure of how to prepare them. Giving participants ideas of simple ways to prepare fruits and vegetables at home helps participants expand their horizons and improve their diets.
75% of participants learned a lot about how to select and store fresh produce. Unlike most processed foods, or even canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, it can be a challenge to know how to properly select and store fresh fruits and vegetables. It can also be disheartening to buy fresh produce and discover later that it’s no good or have it go bad before you can eat it. These disappointments are even more troublesome for families who have a limited food budget. Healthy Food/Healthy You classes help participants get the most out of their money when shopping for fresh produce by teaching them how to select and store fresh produce.