Monday, November 28, 2016

November Update

Our current Population Health Community Indicators include  Fruit and Vegetable consumption (every 3 years) and Food Insecurity (annual).  We will be attempting to identify more timely data and data that more accurately reflects Food Security (vs insecurity). Some of this frustration may be partially alleviated when we begin collecting performance measure on our strategies. 

Team members will research additional measures around food security, School Free and Reduced Lunch, and Snap Recipient caseload.

Update on Community Activity
o    Double-Up Food Bucks
Developed by Michigan’s Fair Food Network (FFN), DUFB  doubles the value of SNAP/EBT benefits spent at farmers markets and grocery stores.  Dollars earned ($1/ $1 spent) purchasing produce can be used to buy local fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables helping people bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers.  DUFB has demonstrated  increases in fruit & vegetable consumption, grocery story profit, and local growers benefit.  The USDA FINI grant has funded the SNAP benefit match with many of these.  The bulk of the funds needed to support DUFB is for the SNAP benefit dollar match.  A local match is required.
A FINI grant likely not feasible this year.  Not all pieces are  in place and biggest piece is who will "house" the grant.  The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy does not have the capacity to "house" the program and that is the biggest current need.  Mountain Wise is possibly interested in becoming a lead but not possible this year. 
ABFPC wants to focus on grocery stores which is where most local folks are likely to shop.  Mountain Wise is willing to help in 1 grocery store pilot in 2017. The French Broad Food Coop is very interested in being the pilot site this year.  This isn't ideal because it's not where most SNAP recipients are shopping but it is scalable for future years.  Also our coop uses the same system that all coops across the state and other Coop's (including Durham) are interested.  Mountain Wise will identify and pilot another store in west.  This is an opportunity to figure out system, work out the kinks and prepare for applying for FINI next year (and scale out regionally and to larger stores.  Food Lion is possibly interested).  Getting the word out to SNAP recipients will be a major part of the planning process.  We are working with the FFN on this.  They have created tool kits with lots of focus on marketing and education.  FFN has made one trip to Asheville to meet with partners and will continue to help advise us on the pilot and assist in applying for the FINI grant.
UNC Asheville and the NC Center for Health and Wellness will help with the evaluation components.

o    Healthy Corner Stores
Healthy Corner Stores are an evidenced-based approach to increase access to healthier foods in small retail settings such as convenience stores.  NC started this work in 2001 as a pilot in the far east NC as part of the Community Transformation Grants Initiative.  A major barrier to creating corner stores is support in knowing how to successful order, display, and keep foods fresh.  The funds to upgrade are particularly challenging.  CTG, YES! And others advocated for a Healthy Food Financing Policy to support upfront costs, however funds were not allocated.  YES presented to the general assemble and partial funds were allocated last year.  The are now working on getting the full allocation in the state budget
Locally, YES is working with a few stores.  Funds to make additional changes in this store are the major barrier for helping one corner store in Montford. 
A RFP is out for organizations who want to work with YES on creating Healthy Corner Stores.  The deadline is quick.  If you know folks or have folks who are interested in working with youth, please have them contact Diana.
This could also be a great opportunity to incorporate Double-Up Food Bucks in Corner Stores.
o    Mission Community Investment Awards
Seventeen agencies and 16 projects received Community Investment Awards, Several were collaborative project.  Buncombe County HHS and Feast as well and MANNA and the YMCA were funded.  The YMCA/MANNA project is for clinical referral with Mission Health Partners for the food insecure and using the YMCA mobile kitchen
The next funding will start earlier and Food Security will continue as a focus
Mission is also focusing internally on food security looking at how they are supporting employees and patients in a way that is equitable and accessible (Mission system-wide)

Revisiting and Clarifying Strategies 

       Action plan work to date prioritizes building on local successes related related to 5 categories of intervention approaches.  Using current assets and that can be committed to this work, teams are identifying strategies that 1) establish a community-wide approach to collaborating with and referring to existing skills-based education programs to address healthy eating and food security; 2) Implement a Double Up Food Bucks program in local retail settings; 3) Create a model for policy and environmental change to support food security.  

Next Steps

Summaries of each of this strategies will be developed and shared in December and expanded teams will be developed to being working on strategies.