Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.* The Veggie Van (VV) Toolkit is a policy, systems, and environmental change intervention designed to:
- Increase access to healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables in lower-income and/or food insecure communities
- Help the target population improve their diets through skill-building
- Address the interplay between the physical food environment, individual perceptions of that environment, and self-efficacy
- Address multiple dimensions of access to fresh produce for lower-income and under-served communities, including availability, affordability, accessibility (geographic and financial), and accommodation
- Improve self-efficacy for finding, purchasing, and preparing fruits and vegetables or other healthy foods via cooking and nutrition education interventions
VV achieves these goals via mobile farmer's markets that present cooking demonstrations, recipes, taste tests, and nutrition education to help customers better use the products they receive. VV mobile markets also accept SNAP benefits, electronic benefits (EBT), and other relevant local food incentive and benefits programs, as well as employ a bundling model in addition to a la carte purchasing. The bundling model allows the VV mobile markets to sell more items at a lower cost and expose participants to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. Markets operate a minimum of 10 months out of the year and typically source produces locally or regionally.
A summary of the VV outcomes can be found on the Outcomes page of the VV website, and these outcomes include:
- People using VV found it easier to make a veggie dish with what they had on hand
- People in communities with VV were eating 3.6 cups per day of fruits and veggies while people in communities without VV were only eating 2.8 cups per day
The VV received feedback from study participants via the Mobile Market Survey, focus groups with participants, and the Green Chart Evaluation Follow-up Survey. Based on feedback, two additional dimensions were added to the VV program to help ensure that research participants would receive at least a minimal dose of the intervention: dissemination of a VV newsletter and a voucher for a free bundle of produce.
*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.