By Noah F & Ari
On February 24 Kelsey Long (Project Policy Analyst) and Sanjana Marpadga (Program Associate) from EatSF came to speak to our class. EatSF is a non-profit organization that helps people get the fruits and vegetables that are needed to be healthy. The program was founded by Dr. Hilary Seligman, a nationally recognized expert on the intersection between food insecurity and health. In collaboration with the Board of Supervisors’ Food Security Task Force and in support of the 2013 Resolution committing the City and County of San Francisco to be food secure and hunger-free by 2020 which still is yet to happen. EatSF was originally designed to address the unique food security issues in San Francisco. Its goal is to provide an equitable food system everywhere, improve food security, encourage healthy eating, and to eliminate food deserts. One out of five households do not purchase any vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are more expensive and harder to grow. Participants can get both fresh and frozen produce. Not having healthy food can cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other nasty stuff. A healthy amount of vegetables is 5 servings a day. 44% of low-income SF residents cannot afford nutritious food. Only 25% of kids eat 5 servings of produce a day (recommended). There are places where it is almost impossible to get produce (food deserts).
EatSF vouchers are both similar to and different from SNAP. Unlike SNAP, where you can get a card that has money to buy anything from the store both healthy and/or unhealthy food, EatSF gives you a voucher that has money on it and you can only buy fresh fruits and vegetables. It is similar because it reaches low-income people, but it also reaches people who have dietary chronic diseases, SSI/SSDI (people with disabilities), pregnant women, food-insecure people, people who can’t qualify for SNAP, and women, infants, and children.
EatSF has 120 partners that range from social workers and clinics that give out vouchers to participate in the program for 6-months. To places that sell fruits and vegetables like corner stores, farmers markets and grocery stores. After 6 months, participants can re-enroll. EatSF tries to keep the process of enrolling simple. Participants fill out a form when they enroll and again when they re-enroll. 91% of participants say that they eat healthier food. Once participants enroll, they are able to walk down to their corner store or local grocery with their vouchers to purchase produce. If you want to donate to help give someone access to fruits and vegetables, or you just want to learn more click here.