Hero Image

UC CalFresh and food banks collaborate to promote healthful diet

The Issue

Obesity, diabetes and other weight-related health problems are linked to lower income families and families who are food insecure. In 2010, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties measured 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in poverty. In San Luis Obispo County, 28.6 percent, and in Santa Barbara County, 39.5 percent of adults lived in food insecure households. Fruits and vegetables are part of a more healthful diet, according to the USDA and Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

What Has ANR Done?

In collaboration with local food banks, the UC CalFresh program provided nutrition education to families at qualifying school sites where youth nutrition education had been delivered by K-6 teachers. With agencies, UC CalFresh also worked with local elementary schools to develop nutrition education for food bank distribution events. Using produce from the food banks, UC CalFresh held nutrition workshops focusing on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Fruits and vegetables were prepared in healthful dishes, which were tasted by participating families. Afterwards, participants indicated their intent to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by completing a survey. In Santa Barbara County, the food bank distribution takes place monthly at a Healthy School Pantry event, which includes two local elementary schools. Approximately 350 family members were invited to participate in physical activity, health and nutrition education information booths, and nutritious food demonstration workshops. In San Luis Obispo County, 40 to 50 people participated in fruit and vegetable workshops while they waited to pick up their food bank bags. Both sets of participants received a fruit and vegetable preparation demonstration and a recipe to accompany the produce given to them at the food bank distribution.

The Payoff

Increasing Awareness for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Although fruit and vegetable consumption was already high among the 70 participating families in Santa Barbara County, 22 percent said they would increase consumption within the next week. In San Luis Obispo County, 80 percent of the participants indicated they would increase fruit and vegetable consumption within the next week.

Clientele Testimonial

"I would never have thought to make this (fruit and vegetable salad, with lime and chile), but it is delicious!" "I'm going to make this when I get home."


Supporting Unit:

San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
Lisa Paniagua, (805)781-5947, lmharrah@ucdavis.edu