I really like talking about nutrition. In high school I tried that terrible diet called Atkins, and though I didn't stick with a low/no-carb lifestyle, it did begin my hobby of learning about food and how it makes us healthy (or not). Today, I am obsessive about meal planning a week in advance, I always have a new cookbook checked out from the library, and watching food documentaries is a common occurrence in my house. Food is so beautiful! I love the way it knows how to grow into vibrant colors. Or how we can create such a diverse spectrum of flavors by combining certain ingredients with others. I love how perfect it is that something so beautiful is also exactly what we need to feel good and live long, productive lives.
It seems confusing to me that with all of the access to free recipes, readily-available produce and nutritional information online today, there are still so many people who are sick because of their food choices. I believe that a lot of the issue is a lack of education about nutrition and how to cook vegetables to make them taste good. On top of that, there are still many communities where fresh produce isn't available and people don't have access to transportation to get to grocery stores. And when you look at the price of produce versus some prepared, fast-food meals, it makes sense why the easier option isn't always the healthier one.
I am very concerned about these issues and so I began researching if there were any non-profits working on changing this. That's when I discovered Fresh Approach. Fresh Approach is working in a number of areas to address nutrition problems amongst low-income Bay Area residents. I'm excited about the work they are doing and plan to volunteer in their community garden soon.
Organization: Fresh Approach
The problem: Lack of access to healthy foods in Bay Area communities and a need for cooking skills and nutrition information.
"Fresh Approach is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a big mission: to create long-term change in local food systems, by connecting California communities with healthy food from California farmers and expanding knowledge about food and nutrition."
The work: Fresh Approach offers a variety of services to Bay Area communities, including free VeggieRx cooking and nutrition classes in Spanish, a farmers' market on wheels, gardening workshops, and matching programs, such as Market Match, which is a statewide incentive program that allows shoppers paying with a CalFresh EBT card to double their money when they shop at a participating farmers’ market.
Who they serve: Low-income adults, youth, and families.
Charity Navigator ranking: N/A - Charity Navigator currently only evaluates organizations with more than $1M in annual revenue.