Community Health Improvement Plan

Eat Green Fredericksburg is a community health improvement project initiated by the Rappahannock Area Health District and its partners in spring of 2018. The project aims to reduce food insecurity among WIC participants in Fredericksburg City. Food insecurity was one of the three strategic health issues identified from the 2017 Community Health Assessment, and is defined by the USDA as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources”.

During the initiation phase of the EGF project, the team reviewed the three pillars of food insecurity—availability, access, and usage—to guide the identification of resources and gaps in the community. Thus, availability of assets such as the farmers markets in the city, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) match, and the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program were of value to the project. The SNAP match program increases the buying power of SNAP shoppers by matching their spending dollar for dollar up to a certain amount. The WIC and the SNAP match program provide support to low income families to improve their financial access to healthy food items, and the farmers markets make fresh fruits and vegetables available to the community. Yet, despite the availability of these resources, the WIC staff indicated the lack of awareness about the farmers market and the SNAP match benefit is a prominent gap that needs to be addressed among the WIC participants. As a result, the EGF project was developed to increase food security among WIC participants by introducing the farmers markets and the SNAP match program. In summer of 2018 the project was implemented at the Fredericksburg Health Department and the farmers market located at Hurkamp Park, with three of the following major components.

  1. Every Tuesday, a $10 coupon was provided for WIC participants during their WIC clinic visit
  2. Distribution of brochures about the farmers market, SNAP and the SNAP match program
  3. Data collection at the two implementation sites – farmers market and Fredericksburg Health Department

In 2019, the project is planned to continue implementation from May 28 to August 27 at the Fredericksburg Health Department and from June 1 to September 28 at the farmers market by Hurkamp Park. This year’s project cycle will incorporate a few changes that have been adopted from the Produce Pack (PHHS Block Grant funded) project––the two projects have been merged and will operate with the changes indicated below:

  1. Instead of the $10 coupon, a produce bag filled with 3 to 4 types of seasonal vegetables such as, potatoes, green beans, cucumbers and summer squash, will be provided to WIC participants during WIC clinic visits. Every Saturday, at the farmers market, participants will be allowed to refill their bag up to three times
  2. There will be a cooking demo by Dr. Yum at the Fredericksburg Health Department. The demo will include the seasonal vegetables in the produce bag and a recipe of each demo will be included in the bags
  3. Distribution of brochures about the farmers market, SNAP and the SNAP match program
  4. Data collection at the two implementation sites – farmers market in downtown Fredericksburg and Fredericksburg Health Department.

We would like to use this opportunity to extend our gratitude to our partners, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Virginia Community Food Connections, Fredericksburg City Farmers Market and Dr. Yum.

If you have any question about the project or are interested in volunteering in any of the two locations, please contact Saba Lemma at saba.lemma@vdh.virginia.gov

 

 


Recipes

Broccoli Salad

Beet Hummus