The Importance of the Farm Direct Nutrition Program (by Guest Blogger Valerie Carroll)

Read more about the author here. This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.

The Public Writing

Author’s Note:

I was very surprised to learn when looking into the W.I.C program that it does not already allocate money towards fresh fruit and vegetables. There is grains, dairy, protein, and fruit juice but no fresh produce. As you can see the letter to my state representative I am hoping to see this change.

A Letter to State Representative Mitch Greenlick:

To the honorable State Representative Mitch Greenlick-

I am writing you regarding HB: 2992 Farm Direct Nutrition Program. I strongly urge you to vote in favor of this House Bill. The bill would help low income families have access to fresh fruit and vegetables as well as individuals who are 60 years of age or older and who receive medical assistance under ORS chapter 414 or supplemental nutrition assistance under ORS 411.806 to 411.845.

Passing this House Bill would be very beneficial health wise for the participants but it would also be economically stimulating to the local farmers and community. I would be interested in knowing where you stand on this bill and would greatly appreciate a response from your office. Thank you for your time and service.

Sincerely yours, Valerie Carroll

The Research Collection

This article talks about how soda and sugary drinks used to be seen as a treat back in the 50s and 60s when sugary drinks were becoming really popular. They are now seen as an every day drink and are being drank to excess. There are a few senators who are trying to change this mind set by limiting sugary soda to a group of people who tend to eat more processed foods then other Americans as a whole. Those would be food stamp participants. These senators want to limit/eliminate in some cases the amount of sugary drinks food stamp participants are able to buy each month. My opinion on this is that this idea would be difficult to put into place some “fruit juices” have just as much sugar in them as soda.

This is a great article that talks how much exercise children are getting. Here is a short list of just some of the findings from the study on childrens exercise and some parents reponses

  • 74% of parents say they choose to spend family time with their children sitting in front of a TV set.
  • 42% of parents say growing technological distractions, including social networks, computer games, and cell phones, are getting in the way of active play.
  • 53% say they spend leisure time with their kids playing video games, or otherwise on a computer.
  • 58% say their children ages 5 to 10 spend fewer than four days a week playing outdoors.
  • 42% of parents say they are more concerned with their children’s financial security than their physical activity; 50% of parents say families play a sport together less than once a week.

I was surprised that 42% of parents were more concerned with their childrens financial future then by how much exercise they get. These two topics almost go hand-in-hand. If a child is overweight they tend to be less happy and emotional stable as more active healthier children.

This article talks about how low income families and neighborhoods have little to poor acces to fresh fruits and vegetables. In Santa Clara California there is a group call the The Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.), that is trying to change this. A study showed that higher-income areas have more than twice as many large supermar¬kets per capita as lower-income areas. In contrast, the report shows that lower-in¬come communities have nearly twice as many liquor stores and 50 percent more markets that sell an abundance of meat products; neither of these types of stores offers a variety of healthy food options, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.  One that that F.E.P. wants to change is how a grocery store is classified.  North American Industry Classification System, which currently counts small retail outlets as grocery stores, even if they sell mostly alcohol and junk food. The F.E.P. wants to have this changed

This is a great article that talks about 25 fun ways to get kids up and moving. The article focuses mainly on indoor activities. For me my children don’t have a really big, safe area where they can plan at home. The most outdoor exercise they get is at school.
Carnival– Set up carnival games like knock down the milk cans (we used Tupperware).

Hallway Bowling – Fill up water bottles and use any ball you have.

Hopscotch – Use chalk or tape to make a game on your floor or outside your building.

Pillow Fight – No explanation needed.

Sock Skating – If you have hard floors, put on socks and skate around. See if you can do spins or hockey stops, or who can slide the farthest. Make sure to move the furniture and watch for splinters.

The writer of this article took a spin off of a book called Sneaky Fitness. Sneaky Fitness focused more on outdoor activities assuming that everyone had a big yard or safe outdoor place to play. The writer of the article adapted some of the articles to her apartment dwelling space and added some games that her siblings used to play as children.


One comment

  1. Angel

    Hi Valerie,
    I was also actually surprised to learn that WIC does not allocate funds for produce, and now I think of it I don’t ever recollect seeing a “WIC” sticker near produce. Many people who receive WIC are also eligible to receive food stamps, which is more of a long-term solution and provides more flexibility for food purchases, which is something to keep in mind. Also, in hopes that mothers and the young do not suffer from malnourishment due to a low caloric intake, WIC provides the ability of purchasing higher caloric foods with a good nutritional payoff. This makes sense because although fruits and vegetables are good nutritionally, they are expensive and also provide very small caloric gains. This could be one reason for why we don’t see the allocation of funds to produce. On a side note, I’d like to see how WIC changes in the future years taking into consideration the gluten intolerance hype that has been going on lately.
    Your point about boosting local business through farmers is definitely a valid one! However, this would take some changes of food vouchers and other things to make sure that the budget does not increase, and it would probably even out in the end, because again, many of these people are on food stamps and do already purchase produce and other necessary items provided by WIC.
    I wish I could have seen some more of your research, definitely an interesting, multi-faceted subject! Good points, you’d think even just a couple things, such as bananas and broccoli – that are cheap yet nutritionally important – would be allowed! But I suspect its due to budgeting and also the point of making sure children are not malnourished via caloric and protein intakes.

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