Written by David Rice
Fresh fruits and vegetables are sometimes not easy to access depending on where you live, but a few organizations are partnering to bring great local produce to communities in the Atlanta area.
Non-profit organization Wholesome Wave, Naked Juice Company and AOL have teamed up to improve access to these foods. Wholesome Wave, an organization dedicated to strengthening the link between local agriculture and underserved communities, will host an event at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market this Saturday from 9 a.m. -12 p.m. to discuss the partnership and its potential impact.
“Wholesome Wave's goal is to empower people living in poverty to make healthier diet choices by increasing affordability and access to healthy foods,” Wholesome Wave Communications Manager Ashley Gaudiano said.
“For our partnering markets, nutrition and culinary education are a component of their daily operation,” she said. “This Saturday, at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market in Atlanta, Chef Nick Melvin will perform a cooking demonstration for local shoppers based on the ingredients available at the market.”
The term “underserved” refers to communities in what are known as food deserts, or areas where affordable healthy food is difficult to obtain for people without access to an automobile. These places exist in both rural and urban areas, most commonly in low-income communities. Food deserts are sometimes associated with supermarket shortages and food security, and research often links these communities to diet-related health problems.
“Often the only place to purchase food of any sort in these “food deserts” is the liquor store or bodega,” Gaudiano said. “The food available in these locations is either highly processed foods or produce that is expensive because small corner stores and vendors cannot compete on a price basis with large, national or regional supermarket chains.”
The partnership will deliver nutritious foods through Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program, available to anyone receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. Recipients can take their EBT card to participating farmers markets and receive double the value to buy produce from participating vendors.
“To date, we have been able to donate 150,000 pounds worth of fresh fruits & vegetables with help from our consumers online to benefit Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program [DCVP],” said Brendan Schaefer, a senior brand manager with Naked Juice.
“The DVCP benefits farmers markets across America, making it that much easier for people in food deserts to access fresh produce,” he added. “We’ve reached our goal of 150,000 pounds, but we definitely want folks to go to drinkgooddogood.com or Wholesomewave.com to learn more about the program and how they can get involved locally to support the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.”