UCCE explores the Farm-to-WIC Program
What Has ANR Done?A team of UCCE educators received a three-year specialty crop block grant from CDFA to research ways to improve WIC participants' access to locally produced specialty crops. During the project's first year, the UCCE nutrition educators surveyed WIC participants in Alameda, Tulare and Riverside counties to determine their interest in purchasing locally produced foods. Farm advisors and specialists explored the feasibility of connecting small farmers to WIC vendors. Also, visits to WIC stores were made to assess improvements needed in produce handling to maintain product quality at the store level.
WIC shoppers learn to use local produceThe WIC clientele survey led to the development of produce handling and nutrition fact sheets for nine fall/winter crops and seven spring/summer crops. Testing showed that WIC participants learned new information about preparation, storage, nutritional value, serving and selection of produce from the fact sheets. A poster designed to promote seasonal produce was also developed. Some handling problems at the WIC stores were identified and three training sessions on produce handling for 30 WIC store employees in Alameda, Tulare and Riverside/Coachella Valley were carried out. More training and outreach will be conducted during the second project year.
Supporting Unit:Small Farm Program, UCD Nutrition Dept., UCD Plant Sciences/Post Harvest, Alameda County, Riverside County, Tulare County and Santa Clara County.
Chutima Ganthavorn, Cathi Lamp, Lucrecia Farfan-Ramirez, Tammy McMurdo, Penny Leff, Marita Cantwell, Jose Aguiar, Manuael Jimenez, Aziz Baameur, and Project Leaders: Lucia Kaiser, PI (530) 754-9063 and Shermain Hardesty, co-PI (530) 752-0467.