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The Food Trust

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Childhood Obesity, Farmland Preservation, Food, Nutrition

Mission: The food trust, a nonprofit founded in philadelphia in 1992, strives to make healthy food available to all. The food trust is a regional and national leader in developing new strategies to prevent childhood obesity and other diet-related diseases through innovative programs to increase access to fresh food and provide nutrition education in underserved communities.

Programs: Nutrition education-the food trust works to increase access to healthy food in underserved areas, along with providing nutrition education to children and families. In the past year, the food trust's team of educators conducted the school nutrition education program in about 80 elementary, middle, and high schools in low-income neighborhoods of philadelphia, norristown, lansdowne, darby, chester, allentown, bethlehem, and reading, pa, as well as camden, nj. The food trust staff worked with children and their families in underserved communities, providing classroom lessons, parent workshops, youth leadership programs, school-wide activities such as taste tests and nutrition-related assemblies, and special activities, such as cooking in the classroom and farm field trips. Participating teachers also received nutrition education materials for themselves and their students, along with lesson plans to help them incorporate nutrition into their curriculum. The food trust staff partnered with school and community stakeholders to innovate and implement policy, systems and environmental changes at these school sites, including starting farm stands, revitalizing gardens and consulting with school food services. The agency also provided nutrition education in diverse out-of-school time settings, including recreation centers and ymcas. In addition, the food trust provides nutrition education for adults in low-income communities of philadelphia, norristown, chester, allentown, lansdowne, and reading, pa, as well as camden, nj. Held in churches, libraries, food stores, and other community sites, these adult nutrition education lessons and workshops introduced participants to new fruits and vegetables, taught them how to prepare healthy meals, and provided educational tours of nearby supermarkets, farmers' markets, and healthy corner stores to teach them how to purchase nutritious food on a budget.

the center for healthy food access- this national collaborative effort is working to ensure that every child in the united states has access to nutritious, affordable food. Serving as a catalyst to share learning and test groundbreaking ideas, as well as secure the progress that has been made in recent years, the center works on a number of projects to improve nutrition, health and community development in underserved areas across the country. Through collaborations with other partners, the center is working to strengthen federal nutrition programs, such as snap, wic and snap-ed, and improve the food and water quality in schools. Creating jobs and stimulating economic development by bringing grocery stores and other healthy food businesses to underserved areas is another priority area, as is working with hospitals and healthcare systems to prevent diet-related disease in low-income communities. The center also is working with businesses to focus marketing efforts on healthier choices and is expanding snap-incentive programs that provide support to make healthier food more affordable for those on food stamps. The center also promotes the healthy food access portal so organizations and businesses can share successes with one another, and provides grants to catalyze progress toward center goals to other organizations across the country.

youth leadership and the get hype philly initiative- the food trust continued its get hype philly! Initiative, a collective of 10 nonprofits led by the food trust. The collective works to educate and empower philadelphia teens to participate in youth leadership activities to promote healthy eating and physical activity, and build healthier communities. As part of this initiative, the food trust continued its hype (healthy you. Positive energy. ) youth leadership program, which inspires middle and high school students to become leaders and advocates to improve health and wellness in their schools and communities, fostering change among themselves, their peers and families. This past year, the agency's hype staff provided training and assistance to develop youth-led wellness councils in 75 public schools. During the school year, hype student leaders assessed their food environment, then designed and implemented healthy action plans to increase food and fitness opportunities in their schools and communities. Student-led activities included healthy snack and beverage sales, taste tests, and student performances and assemblies to promote physical activity and good nutrition. The food trust also hosted two youth leadership summits, which empowered youth leaders from philadelphia and camden, new jersey, to think creatively about ways to encourage healthy living.

healthy corner store initiative - the food trust developed the healthy corner store initiative to increase the availability of nutritious food in underserved neighborhoods that lack supermarkets or other fresh-food retailers. Over the past year, the food trust has worked with partners to develop and support healthy corner store networks in philadelphia and many other cities, as well as statewide networks in pennsylvania and new jersey. Food trust staff provide resources, training and technical assistance to help store owners stock and market healthy foods, as well as marketing materials to encourage consumers to make healthy food choices. The food trust also provides the "heart smarts" program in a subset of stores, which not only offer greater availability of affordable, nutritious food, but also store-based nutrition lessons and taste tests to encourage healthy choices. These stores also provide heart bucks coupon incentives to increase healthy food purchases. As a part of the heart smarts program, some healthy corner stores in philadelphia and camden also offer free blood pressure and heart-risk assessment screenings, as well as counseling and referrals, in collaboration with local health care partners. Consulting services -the consulting team at the food trust helps other organizations nationwide benefit from the agency's deep knowledge base and innovative programs to expand access to healthy, affordable food for all. The team is comprised of staff with diverse backgrounds - including expertise in healthy food retail programs and policies, federal nutrition programs, regional food systems, public health, and management consulting. These staff work at the federal, state, and local levels with a wide variety of agencies, organizations, and industry partners to provide strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and the design and implementation of healthy food access programs and policy initiatives. In the past year, these staff members on a wide variety of healthy food access programs and policy initiatives, ranging from provision of technical assistance to consulting support for larger programs and federal public health initiatives. The food trust also continued to provide technical assistance as a certified subcontractor with the centers for disease control and prevention. All of the team's work is closely aligned with the food trust's core mission and programs. Farmers market and food bucks programs -to increase healthy food access in southeastern pennsylvania, the agency operates a network of 22 farmers markets with community partners in diverse urban neighborhoods, providing residents with access to fresh produce and nutrition-related educational activities and events. In the past year, the farmers market program continued its customer outreach efforts to promote the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and staff provided on-site nutrition education and cooking demonstrations at a number of markets in underserved communities in philadelphia. The food trust also continued its philly food bucks program, a coupon incentive program that provides farmers market patrons with a $2 coupon for free fruits and vegetables each time they spend $5 at the market using their snap (food stamp) benefits. Based on the success of the food bucks coupon program, the food trust continued expanding its healthy food incentive work across pennsylvania and, for the first time, to camden, new jersey, to make healthy food more affordable for people using snap benefits. In the past year, food trust staff expanded the food bucks program to include four supermarkets across pennsylvania, with three in philadelphia and one in pittsburgh. In addition, the food trust introduced food bucks rx, a fruit and vegetable prescription program targeting low-income pediatric patients and their families, in partnership with cooper university hospital in camden. Night market program -the food trust's night markets are roving, outdoor food festivals held throughout the spring and summer, where as many as 85 mobile food vendors, neighborhood restaurants and caterers convene to sell a variety of delicious, multi-ethnic foods made with fresh and often local ingredients. As part of the food trust's larger effort to build a healthy food economy in the philadelphia region, the agency's night market team provides training and technical assistance to help local food entrepreneurs market and expand their businesses and navigate city policies. Since 2010, the food trust has hosted 28 night markets in 19 philadelphia neighborhoods. In 2017, night market visited the neighborhoods of burholme, spruce hill, roxborough and the italian market, attracting cumulative crowds of over 85,000. In addition, program staff provided training and technical support to several groups seeking to host their own local food pop-up events modeled after night market, which we call night market hybrids. Past partners have included temple university, lankenau hospital, the philadelphia film society and more; we even played a key role in organizing a daytime food festival in conjunction with the democratic national convention. Through both full-scale events and smaller consulting engagements, the night market program has helped to enliven philadelphia neighborhoods, establishing these urban corridors as engaging and appealing civic centers, and driving economic development and food entrepreneurship. Farm to school and farm to early care -food trust staff provide training and technical assistance for schools, early care and education centers, farmers, and other groups working to implement and sustain farm to institution programs and practices. The food trust's farm to early care program, ready, set, grow! , made significant strides last year, as it continued to take shape as a statewide advocacy campaign in pennsylvania, with a goal to educate decision makers about the benefits of farm to early care practices. As a core partner to the national farm to school network, the food trust also continued to coordinate, promote and expand the farm to school movement throughout the state of pennsylvania. In philadelphia, the food trust supported farm to school programming at the school district of philadelphia, particularly by helping the division of food services conduct the harvest of the month campaign, and by linking farm to school promotions to the food trust's nutrition education program. As part of the food trust's consulting department, the farm to school team provided farm to school and healthy school food training and technical assistance to stakeholders in other states. The agency also has been working to better serve the supply side of the farm to school community through developing stronger partnerships with farmers, distributors, and other vendors.

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