Among Farm Fresh RI's programs that increase healthy food access for Rhode Islanders, the Farm to Senior initiatives provide nutrition and food systems education, tastings, and incentives for seniors to better afford and access fresh, healthy nutritious food.
Healthy Servings for Seniors
Healthy Servings for Seniors provides nutrition education classes for low-income senior citizens in Rhode Island that build upon the Seniors Farmers Market coupon program (see coupon distribution locations). The program offers hands-on opportunities and incentives to buy fresh, healthy food. Healthy Servings for Seniors began in 2011 and works in partnership with URI SNAP Ed in communities across Rhode Island to provide both education and delicious, nutritious food!
2014 Classes: Where to Participate
How It Works: A Curriculum for Eating Fresh
There are six class sessions at each location throughout the summer and fall, each consisting of a nutrition and food systems lesson, as well as a cooking demonstration with samples featuring produce from local farms. After attending four class sessions, participants are eligible to receive an incentive of $15 in Bonus Bucks to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. One class session at each location features an on-site mobile farmers market, offering an opportunity for participants to spend their incentive without having to travel too far from home. To wrap up the season, participants are invited on a field trip to a nearby farmers market for yet another opportunity to redeem their Bonus Bucks!
- Week 1: Introduction, MyPlate, Senior Farmers Market Coupons
- Week 2: Amounts: How much is needed?; "Where does my food come from?
- Week 3: Veggie Variety; "What grows in RI?"
- Week 4: Food Safety and Food Culture
- Week 5: Farmer Visit and Mini-Market
- Week 6: Fruit & Vegetable Bingo
Healthy Servings for Seniors expands upon Farm Fresh Rhode Island's current nutrition education outreach and upon the Seniors Farmers Market coupon program (see distribution locations). This program will improve the health of Rhode Island's seniors and decrease the prevalence of obesity by:
- Increasing knowledge of nutrition and food systems for seniors.
- Offering Rhode Island seniors the tools necessary to make healthier choices while shopping for food.
- Raising awareness of Farmers Markets in these communities as a place to purchase affordable, high quality fruits and vegetables.
- Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
Since its inception in 2004, Farm Fresh Rhode Island has worked to achieve these four goals by managing farmers' markets in low-income and/or food insecure areas, accepting Food Stamp / SNAP benefits and WIC and Seniors Farmers Market coupons at these markets, and partnering with state agencies and area universities to offer healthy cooking demonstrations at the markets.
- More than 180 seniors learned about local, nutritious food options at 5 senior sites from June-August.
- 60% of enrolled seniors attended four sessions and received $15 each in Bonus Bucks to spend at the farmers market. Over $1,600 in Bonus Bucks was distributed to RI seniors in need.
- 94% of seniors surveyed reported increased knowledge of the importance of local food after participating in the Healthy Servings for Seniors program.
Farm to Senior Increasing Demand for RI Grown Produce
Inspired by the success of Healthy Servings for Seniors, Farm Fresh RI recently developed a new program to engage senior center diners and the caterers who prepare their meals. Piloted in summer 2014, this new “Farm to Senior” project is our newest effort to build demand for healthy, local food among consumers while advocating for local food among institutional purchasers. This comprehensive program includes support and technical assistance to senior congregate meal sites to source and market Rhode Island grown produce in conjunction with education and tasting events at meal sites to build demand for more local food.
Questions? E-mail Kim Clark.
- 257 seniors participated in local foods promotion activities.
- 40 RI senior centers served RI grown produce from July-October 2014.
- $4000+ of local food purchased by senior centers during the 2014 harvest season.
- 93% of seniors surveyed believed the addition of RI grown produce to the menu had a positive effect on the meal.
See this Farm to Senior Report for outcomes related to both Healthy Servings for Seniors and the Farm to Senior project.