Over the past year, the Nutrition Wellness Program has been developing an online educational program to promote healthy eating and community leadership within the local food systems. We have partnered with two local leaders to facilitate workshops around MyPlate education. Over 200 community members were contacted and nearly 80 people participated. Participants received a MyPlate eating utensil, and $15 in AIM Farmer’s Market tokens to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. One participant, Sonia O. reflects on the program, “The online class helped me understand the importance of adding more fruits and vegetables to my plate and gave me an opportunity to buy fresh, local produce at the farmer’s market”. The goal of this program is to build a network of community members and provide them with opportunities to become more involved in the work of the HEAL Collaborative.
Community Action Marin: Food Service Professional Apprenticeship Program (FSP)
Community Action Marin’s Food Service Professional Apprenticeship Program (FSP) explores workforce development and social enterprise within the local food economy. Through this program CAM hopes they will, “see community members with significant barriers to entering the food system receive the support and opportunity they need to realize their professional dreams for careers in the local food industry.” With a vision to provide participants the tools needed for a career in the hospitality industry, small business ownership, or business expansion, the FSP will provide apprenticeship opportunities that support knowledge and confidence, as well as wraparound supportive services through CAM’s whole family approach to helping people of low income achieve self-sufficiency.
Knowledge and confidence in the culinary sector: Apprentices in this program will have the opportunity to work directly with a small business owner and build real life experiences in the culinary sector and the labor market.
Business development support: Apprentices interested in starting their own food business will receive business development support for starting a food micro-enterprise. Participants will have access to resources including Community Action Marin’s commercial kitchen and personalized small business advising at no cost to cultivate their small business plans.
All apprentices will have access to career coaching services and other supportive services provided by Community Action Marin, as well as referrals to Marin’s Small Business Development Center. Peer learning and mentorship will be offered to further support participant success.
This program is an inspiration to the community as, “each food entrepreneur shares something of themselves with the community – their passion, their flavors, their culture, their perspective. Food is a staple and a symbol of what’s possible in community. Food, connection, and stories of the journey with land and livelihood enrich the lives of everyone.”
To learn more about the program contact Liz Valone, VP Program and Strategic Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marin City Community Services District: Marin City Food Equity Promotion (FEP)
The Marin City Community Services District’s Food Equity Promotion Program’s vision is twofold. It addresses immediate food insecurity needs while developing a local, culturally relevant, and accessible food production mechanism.
The program addresses community food insecurity through improved access to healthy food options with a focus on decreasing reliance on cheap, unhealthy foods. Over the years, FEP carefully cultivated relationships with community, county, non-profits, and businesses to create mutually beneficial relationships and secure culturally appropriate food distribution to food insecure community members. The program is managed and operated by the Marin City Community Services District (CSD) where 150 households are served 300 meals each week. To support healthy eating activities, FEP partners with the County’s Nutrition Wellness Program for nutrition and garden education classes and, recipe and cookbook distribution.
The CSD is completing construction on the Marin City Intergenerational Garden (IG). The garden is planned as a sustainable local food production site, available and accessible to community. In the future, The IG will serve as a local Farmer’s Market site. Through the FEP program, community members will participate in garden education (planting, growing, harvesting), nutrition education (preparing healthy meals, rethink your drink) classes, and a composting program aimed at reducing waste and providing soil amendments to the IG Garden. The garden cultivates local youth stewards to maintain the garden and serves as a garden and nutrition education site for youth and community. It is a space where knowledge transfer occurs between seniors and youth.
To learn more about the work of the MCCSD, contact Juanita Edwards, email@example.com.
Community Leadership Spotlight
In 2021, the Nutrition Wellness Program shifted available funding ($50,000) for contracts to better align with the food equity goals the were established by the Marin County HEAL Collaborative. An RFP process was created in order for community groups to submit ideas for how they could contribute to greater food equity in Marin. A selection committee was created of NWP staff, county employees involved in equity work, and HEAL Collaborative Steering Committee members. The following two projects were selected for funding for Fiscal years 2021-2022. Keep an eye out for the next RFP release around Summer 2022.