Cabbage, collard greens, broccoli and cauliflower for Family First Health patients. Halloween 2016.

A healthy diet is essential to overall health and strongly influences health outcomes.  Access to and consumption of fresh produce is at the core of combating chronic, diet-related disease and making our community healthier.  According to the York County’s 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, only 4% of adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, and for residents living in poverty the percentage eating the recommended amount of vegetables falls below 1%.

York County’s 2016 Regional Health Plan identifies a high rate of adult overweight/obesity as Health Issue #1 and calls on the community to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by improving local food accessibility with initiatives that connect local growers with underserved populations.   The Eat Play Breathe York 2016-2018 Community Action Plan also identifies Objectives and Action Steps to increase access to and consumption of healthy foods.  These include strengthening and promoting community gardens, supporting the advancement of an urban farm project, and supporting the development and implementation of a healthy corner store initiative within the City of York.

Feeding America estimates that approximately 10.9% of York County residents are food insecure.  As many as 47% of the estimated 47,748 food insecure individuals residing in York County do not qualify for federal/state funded food pantries, SNAP benefits or free school meals access.  The annual income limit for SNAP eligibility in Pennsylvania is $38,880 for a family of four; yet a livable annual wage in York County for a family of four with two working parents is estimated at $59,321. This gap between the income threshold for SNAP and other federal/state funded food assistance programs and the income associated with a livable wage is commonly referred to as the “food gap.”  Families in the “food gap” often struggle to eat nutritious, health promoting meals without the benefit of traditional food assistance programs.

York Fresh Food Farms is on the front lines of increasing access to fresh, healthy food in the City of York.  Our vegetables are grown organically and affordably priced; we are growing food in York City for York City.

York Fresh Food Farms has plans to start operating a Mobile Produce Market in 2018 – a shuttle bus customized into a farm-stand-on-wheels that will deliver direct-to-consumer sales and accept SNAP/EBT.  The Mobile Produce Market will follow a regular schedule with stops throughout the City of York to provide under-served neighborhoods,  and city residents with limited transportation, high quality, affordable, organically grown produce.  The Mobile Produce Market operation will address food access inequities and spread the word about nutritious, good tasting fruits and vegetables and eating healthy.