New York Success Stories

New York State Department of Health Child and Adult Care Food Program Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings (EWPHCCS): Farm to Preschool (F2P)

This post was submitted by Lisa Borden of the New York State Department of Health, an implementing agency of SNAP-Ed.

EWPHCCS F2P was designed to improve access to and the cost of locally grown fresh produce. This helps address barriers related to poor nutrition and food insecurity.

small boy eating a snap pea at a farmers market table

Sales Models: Farmers accept EBT and WIC
As part of the initiative, F2P Coordinators are hired to work with participating child care centers. The childcare centers participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. F2P Coordinators help establish F2P sales models. The sales model helps farmers accept SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.

Coordinators also urge farmers to accept WIC Vegetable & Fruit benefits, and other farmer’s market coupon programs. Other programs include the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) that target low-income families.

Education
F2P Coordinators also offer education and food demonstrations that engage parents and child care center staff. The education helps the parents and child care staff to work to increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits at home and in the child day care center.

children sitting outside in grass watching a nutrition educator

Gardening
To integrate EWPHCCS F2P into classrooms, F2P Coordinators provide each intervention child care center with a gardening toolkit and technical assistance for garden establishment.

a garden plot with a child holding a trowel

Program Success
For centers that participate in the program, more people eat 3 or more servings of vegetables daily.

Statistically significant differences were observed for the question “How many vegetables do you usually eat each day?” both outside of NYC (p=0.0004) and within NYC (p=0.0002). Specifically, more respondents reported eating 3 or more vegetables daily at follow-up than at baseline for both centers Outside NYC (29.3% vs. 19.3%) and centers within NYC (39.0% vs. 21.8%).

Type of Program
Direct nutrition education and policy, systems, and environmental change

small girl holding a bunch of carrots she harvested

Years of Implementation
2014-present

Number of Participants
12,150 potential direct, unduplicated reach

Target Audience
Preschool age children and their parents or caregivers

girl holding sunflowers at a market

Program Evaluation
At each participating center, a brief anonymous “Dot Survey” was conducted to capture information about fruit and vegetable purchasing behaviors of target families. Pre-surveys were administered 1-2 weeks prior to the implementation of the EWPHCCS F2P project in each respective market. Follow-up surveys were conducted mid-market season in August.

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the NYS Department of Health.

For more information, please email CACFP@health.ny.gov.

 
 


Go!Healthy Eat Smart Food Box Program

This post was submitted by Eat Smart New York and The Children’s Aid Society, agencies that implement SNAP-Ed.

bag of fresh produce on a table

The Go!Healthy Eat Smart Food Box program aims to help people get fresh, high-quality and affordable produce.

The Go!Healthy Eat Smart Food Box program establishes local produce buying clubs, where pre-packed bags of regionally-grown, fresh produce are sold at wholesale cost weekly for thirteen weeks.

Participants pay one week in advance, with no further commitment, and can use SNAP benefits and farmers’ market incentive coupons (Health Bucks) to purchase the food box. The weekly produce (7-9) items are selected based on a healthy recipe, which our Eat Smart nutritionist demonstrates. The nutritionist also provides tastings, recipe cards, and healthy eating information.

smiling woman with a nutrition education sheet and a bag of produce

Program Success
The Food Box program was met with great enthusiasm at our three participating sites.

Over the season, we served 453 unique families and distributed 2,179 food boxes. The standard benchmark for success is 25 participants weekly per site. We exceeded this minimum target by more than 100% with an average of 50 participants per site every week.

By seasons end, we served an average of almost 70 participants per site, exceeding the minimum benchmark by almost 200%.
68% of our participants were repeat customers and survey results indicate the following:

Reasons provided for purchasing food boxes were:
• 90% reported the quality of the produce was high
• 84% reported the box was affordable
• 79% reported the site was conveniently located

As a result of participating in the food box:
• 90% said their family ate more fruits and vegetables
• 62% reported trying new fruits and vegetables

A participant reported: “getting a food box every week has inspired me to cook more and because of the food box I am provided with the tools necessary to do so.”

2 girls smiling with cucumbers

Type of Program
Policy, systems, and environmental change

Target Audience
Low-income families and community in Harlem and Staten Island

Number of Participants
453 families; 2,179 food boxes distributed

Years of Implementation
Seasonally, since 2016, every July-November

Program Evaluation
Weekly participant and purchasing data, pre-post survey

For more information, please contact Beth Bainbridge.

 
 


at the stop logo At the Stop to Good Health.

This post was submitted by Becky O’Conner of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, a SNAP-Ed Implementing Agency.

stop sign logo

Parents and caregivers were encouraged to model healthy behaviors by the messages on

  • bus kongs (side of bus, also known as "bus wraps")
  • bus shelters
  • transit station dioramas

The media was installed in the lowest-income zip codes of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY. The messages focused on “They learn from watching you, eat more fruits and vegetables/be active/drink water and they will, too.”

SNAP-Ed nutrition educators reinforced the messages during At the Stop workshops for low-income families in these neighborhoods. The educators focused on “eating healthy on the go”.

The messages and At the Stop to Good Health logo have been incorporated into area Healthy Corner Stores. The program is also in the process of being expanded to more rural areas of Western New York using locally-appropriate media. The bus kongs and shelters were funded by SNAP-Ed, and dioramas were provided in-kind by Lamar Advertising.

Type of Program
Social marketing campaign

Number of Participants
45,742 individuals live below the poverty level in the targeted neighborhoods. There were an estimated 79,641,369 impressions (views).

Years of Implementation
2016 and 2017

Target Audience
Low-income parents and caregivers.

Program Evaluation
The program is currently being evaluated by Buffalo State College.

For more information, please contact Becky O’Connor or (716) 822-2288.

 
 


Eat Smart New York Community and School Garden Project

This post was submitted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County, an Implementing Agency of SNAP-Ed.

In Eat Smart New York, a Community & School Garden Specialist provides support to identified gardens in schools and communities in high-needs counties and towns. The specialist

    • convenes meetings of stakeholders
    • provides technical assistance for creating and maintaining a successful garden
    • provides supplies (on a limited basis)
screen shot of beginning video with a farmer and school children

A garden site survey is used to assess site readiness by evaluating infrastructure and community support. This information is used to develop and implement plans with garden groups to address these needs. The survey is conducted at the end of each growing season and based on results, the Specialist makes recommendations on how to improve sustainability.

Nutrition educators are matched with each garden site and provide one time and series education using approved curricula.

Program Success
Last year, we worked with 16 gardens, this year the plan is to reach 20 to 25 garden sites.

500 residents at a public housing site in Rochester, NY gained access to an on-site garden, 75% indicated they eat more vegetables

800 students gained access to gardens on school campus in Newfield, NY with 80% eating more vegetables.

One student said about a veggie stir fry made with the nutrition educator,
“I’m going to bring this home and ask my Mom to make it every day!”

An estimated 3,000 pounds of produce were harvested and distributed from gardens in 2016.

Type of Program
Policy, system, and environmental change to build capacity for eligible gardens

Years of Implementation
2015-present

Number of Participants
1,440 in 2016

Target Audience
Families and youth eligible for SNAP

Program Evaluation
Cornell University is helping with evaluation methods and tools this year. Outputs include numbers of participants engaged in gardens, acreage planted, types of produce planted, and pounds or bags of produce grown and locations where distributed. Outcomes will include: 1) perceived benefits, facilitators, and barriers expressed by sponsoring agencies; and 2) possibilities for increased partnership and sustainability. Additionally, pilot data on changes in children’s taste preferences will also be collected to see if involvement in gardens has a positive impact on children’s willingness to try fruits and vegetables.

For more information, please contact Mary Lee Bourbeau or Josh Dolan.

 
 


CookShop

This post was submitted by the Food Bank for New York City, an implementing agency of SNAP-Ed.

CookShop helps low-income children and adults to enjoy a healthy diet and active lifestyle. CookShop teaches nutrition and physical activity to participants. The program also teaches cooking skills and enthusiasm for fresh, affordable fruits, vegetables and whole foods. People learn through hand-on lessons. CookShop empowers communities to fight childhood hunger, obesity, and diet-related disease.

Program Success
Current program feedback:
One teacher stated,
“I really enjoyed that we got to prepare a meal together and experience the process. I feel my students will enjoy and benefit from being a part of cookshop [sic].”

Another teacher stated,
“I will be able to communicate and link with my students through a hands on activity that will transcend to their lives.”

Following the Fruit Unit, a Kindergarten teacher Bronx noted,
“This is my second year doing CookShop and I must say I'd teach CookShop for my remaining years because it will benefit everyone for years to come.”

After the Vegetable CookShop lesson, a 3rd grade teacher shared,
“Students enjoyed the lesson. Students were surprised to learn how different colors of vegetables are beneficial in different ways. Students said they will make an effort to eat more vegetables.”

After the Protein CookShop lesson, a Kindergarten teacher shared,
“The students have learned so much this year. I loved how we were able to add incorporate Cookshop [sic] to our regular curriculum.”

After the fifth CookShop for Families workshop, the program Leader shared,
“Lesson went well. Parents discussed the importance of dairy in preparing meals for their family. They shared tips and pointers with each other about getting their children to eat healthier meals and less fast food.”

Participating in CookShop lead children to have better food preferences, knowledge and less plate waste. The older children also had more confidence about cooking.

Throughout CookShop’s history, several peer-reviewed studies have evaluated the program’s effectiveness. In 1998, Liquori and colleagues found a positive association between participating in CookShop and food preferences, knowledge, and plate waste in both younger and older children. An association was also found between participating in CookShop and behavioral intention in younger children and cooking self-efficacy in older children.

Additionally, in 2003, Quinn and colleagues found that CookShop participants showed a difference in food exposure and willingness to try new foods (although no change was found in participants’ dietary habits).

Type of Program
Direct nutrition education

Target Audience
Pre-kindergarten through 5th grade elementary school students, students ages 6-12 in after-school programming, parents and caregivers

Years of Implementation
1994-present

Number of Participants
Over 50,000 each year

Program Evaluation
Currently Food Bank For New York City is working with Altarum Institute to conduct a process evaluation to examine the factors related to successful implementation of the program, as well as an outcome evaluation to examine the extent to which the program improves healthy behaviors in participants.

For more information, please contact Zac Hall.

 
 


Healthy Food Pantry Initiative and Nourish Your Neighbor Campaign

This post was submitted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County, an implementing agency of SNAP-Ed.

The goal of the Healthy Food Pantry Initiative is to work with food pantries and the community, to encourage the availability of healthier options and to make the healthier choices the easier choices in food pantries.

Staff work in partnership with pantries to create a healthy food environment by connecting food choice research with the food pantry environment. An assessment tool identifies possible interventions that will increase the availability and promotion of healthy foods.

Based on the pantries needs, a SNAP-Ed educator encourages and helps implement interventions such as

    • promotional signage
    • layout design
    • nutrition education
    • nutrition recipes and handouts

SNAP-Ed helps the pantry develop sustainable policies. After SNAP-Ed leaves, the food pantry environment and food procurement guidelines use their new policies to maintain changes.

As a part of this initiative, the Nourish Your Neighbor, healthy food drive campaign strives to bring healthier food donations into food pantries. Healthier items are not always available to order through the food bank. Typical donations tend to be high in sodium, saturated fat, and empty calories, and low in certain nutrients. SNAP-Ed collaborates with local businesses, agencies, or schools, and provides tools such as shopping lists, grocery bags, and posters with healthy shelf stable foods listed. These are used to gather healthier food donations.

Program Success
Each targeted food pantry implemented at least 5 interventions. New signage was added to the 4 client-choice food pantries. Each pantry made a change to the physical design of the pantry including display cases or baskets for fresh produce, adding color that highlights fresh produce, and changing the layout to promote produce first.

All pantries implemented a nutrition- based food pantry policy that helps support the environmental changes made. Each policy also incorporates recipes and nutrition education for pantry guests.

80 healthy food drives have been implemented, benefiting 41 food pantries throughout the region, and an average of over 70% healthy food was collected.

Type of Intervention
Policy, systems, and environmental change

Target Audience
People who receive SNAP benefits and are eligible to receive SNAP benefits who use food pantries in the greater capital region in New York State

Number of Participants
5 intervention food pantries, 41 receiving food pantries, and 80 agencies/businesses

Years of Implementation
2016-present

Program Evaluation
An initial environmental assessment is conducted with interested food pantries to identify strengths and weaknesses related to the promotion of healthy foods. Interventions are implemented with consideration given to individual food pantry capacity. Post intervention, the environmental assessment and interviews are repeated, and used to identify the number of interventions that were implemented.

At six months, a follow -up to review fidelity, and identify additional opportunities for improvement is completed. A pre- and post-survey is used with the Nourish Your Neighbor campaign to evaluate the healthy food drive including the percentage of healthy food donated.

For more information, please contact Kathleen McAllister.