Wholesome Wave (WW) is an organization that I recently came across and decided to share with you guys because of the wonderful work it’s doing for both underprivileged, urban communities as well as small, rural farms. WW seeks to “nourish neighborhoods by supporting increased production and access to healthy, fresh, and affordable locally grown food for the well-being of all.” In other words, WW uses farm-to-community programs that allow small farmers to provide their fresh ingredients to urban, underprivileged communities. The benefits are twofold: struggling farmers are able to increase their revenue by supplying these communities with fresh ingredients, while underprivileged communities that normally do not have the money and/or access to fresh produce are now given that opportunity. One of the most significant programs that WW implements is its Double Value Coupon Program. There are numerous participating farmers markets that are a part of WW. Individuals that have Federal Food Stamps can not only use them at participating WW farmers markets, but they are also doubled in value. This incentive allows individuals who are on the Federal Food Stamp program access to fresh and local ingredients (also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
A common misconception is that individuals that live in underprivileged communities do not want to eat healthy or fresh foods. However, the reality is that many of these individuals do want to eat fresh and healthy foods, but they just do not have access to do so (i.e. no local farmers market) or they do not have the money to do so (i.e. the cost of eating fresh foods is more expensive). Therefore, they turn to cheaper and more readily available alternatives like fast food or over-processed, unhealthy foods. WW places farmers markets in Urban Food Deserts or “city regions absent of fresh healthy food, and found in low-income neighborhoods, where fast food restaurants and convenience stores are more common than supermarkets or produce stands.” Creating opportunities that allow people the access and means to buy fresh, local foods is vital to increasing this nation’s health. WW is always looking for volunteers and new farmers markets to open around the country. Check out their website for more details!