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 we now work in partnership with URI SNAP Ed in the communities of Providence, Woonsocket, West Warwick and Pawtucket 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 an educational talk from Melissa and a cooking demonstration with samples featuring produce from local farms. After attending three class sessions, low-income participants will become eligible to receive a $15 bonus, distributed in the form of $1 Bonus Bucks, which can be redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. One class session at each location will feature a visit from a farmer, offering an opportunity for participants to spend their Bonus Bucks 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 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.
- Farm Fresh Rhode Island expanded its work with the senior population to focus both on education and also increasing the supply of local food available in senior meal sites. See this Farm to Senior Report for outcomes related to both Healthy Servings for Seniors this year's additional efforts for supply chain improvements.
- Over 212 seniors learned about local, nutritious food options at 5 senior centers from July to October.
- In addition to the workshops, each senior center hosted a visit with a local farmer for an on-site "mini-market" and seniors also had the chance to go on a field trip to a nearby farmers market. Both were occasions for seniors to use their farmers market coupons and SNAP.
- 59% of enrolled seniors came to two or more workshops and received $15 each to shop at the farmers market. A total of $1,575 in Bonus Bucks to buy fresh, local fruit and vegetables were given out.
- 92% of seniors understood how and why to use their farmers market coupons by the end of the program, up from 54%.