March is National Nutrition Month and we’re publishing a series of blog posts that focus on nutrition within our networks. You can also learn about our programs here.
The Vermont Foodbank is using a new evaluation tool at our 15 VT Fresh sites, and also at our direct distributions in collaboration with SASH (Support and Services at Home).
VT Fresh is a nutrition education program that aims to increase access and improve availability of fruits and vegetables at community food shelves. Through VT Fresh, we help change the food environment by increasing the prominence, convenience and availability of fruits and vegetables. We also offer cooking demos, taste tests, and improve displays, signs and promotions of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The new evaluation tool is a survey, which participants receive via e-mail and/or text, asking about their fruit and vegetable consumption. Participants (1), who are clients of participating food shelves and SASH distribution sites, will be able to complete a survey once each week (2). They will then be entered into a raffle. Three winners will be selected on October 30, 2015 to receive a gift card with a cash value of $500.
The basic premise of the raffle is to encourage and motivate participants to eat more fruits and vegetables over time. Asking people to think about their fruit and vegetable consumption and keep track of it will likely support them to set personal goals and be more conscious of their consumption of these healthier foods.
The additional activities of making fresh fruits and vegetables more available at participating food shelves, along with the displays, signage and promotions, will compliment these materials and also help increase access and utilization.
This year, the VT Foodbank received funding to continue VT Fresh and transition it from the pilot stage to a full program. The results of this raffle will be aggregated and all participant data will be coded to ensure that participant data is kept private and anonymous. This aggregated data will be shared with all participating sites at the end of fiscal year.
So far, the raffle has been very well received. We had about 300 participants in the first month!
(1) Staff of the Vermont Foodbank and staff of partnering food shelves are not eligible to win.
(2) Participation is 100% optional and we will protect the confidentiality of participant information.