FAVE - Improving Access to Healthy Foods

FAVE - Improving Access To Healthy Foods

Tue 10 Jun 2014

Story by Shawn Zuber
 

If People Can’t Access Healthy Foods, then Healthy Foods Have to Access the People.

Food deserts are all around us. The problem is that most of us drive through them on our way to a mega super market or quaint weekend farmers’ market. But, what about those who can’t realistically or safely make that journey to get the foods that we all need to stay healthy?

That question led to the creation of Fruits And Vegetables Evansville (FAVE). FAVE is a collaboration between Deaconess and St. Mary’s hospitals, the University of Southern Indiana (USI), and the Upgrade Campaign, all working under the umbrella of the Healthy Communities Partnership of Southwestern Indiana (HCP).

FAVE is a mobile market pilot project that currently runs on Fridays; setting up in neighborhoods where residents have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Creating this oasis in an otherwise barren food desert, has been well received by shoppers. Residents at these locations are greeted with large bins, overflowing with a variety of fruits and vegetables, some of which were added to the menu through specific request from shoppers.

Each week, a food demonstration is conducted by USI Food and Nutrition students, showing shoppers new ways to prepare fruits and vegetables that maintain their health benefits, all using items that are sold that day. Residents have not only enjoyed these demonstrations, but have been able to participate in them and also sample the dish they helped create.

Prices are kept at levels that are also a welcome surprise for those buying the produce. The cost of fresh produce and eating healthy is often cited as a deterrent and another reason to purchase easy food that lacks important nutrients. For that reason, produce is sold at cost.

Everyone should have the option to eat healthy. Geographic location or socioeconomic status shouldn’t stand in the way of those who want to eat right. With the help of community collaboration, Fruits And Vegetables Evansville can continue to provide healthy options to residents in Evansville.

About the author: Shawn Zuber is a Program Specialist and manages social media and communications for the Healthy Communications Partnership of Southwest Indiana.

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