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Please direct all media inquiries to Gabrielle Langholtz at gabrielle@legacy.wholesomewave.org and our PR firm, The Door, at
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2016

11/29/16 "I want to be involved for real." - Tyler Florence Joins Wholesome Wave's Board

Bridgeport, CT – November 29, 2016 – Wholesome Wave is delighted to announce its newest board member: the one and only Chef Tyler Florence.

Wholesome Wave’s CEO Chef Michel Nischan has been crossing paths with Tyler for years at culinary events and charity appearances and they’ve always hit it off. Two years ago Chef Florence—who has long thrown his fame behind food banks and other good causes—got on the phone with Michel to hear all about Wholesome Wave’s work making produce affordable across the country. He loved what he learned.

“Tyler was so stoked about what we’re doing,” recalls Michel. “He said, ‘How can I help? I want to be involved for real.’ He offered to join Wholesome Wave’s board and now it’s official.” (Florence even flew his crew to New York in April to work his magic for guests of Wholesome Wave’s benefit dinner.)

“Tyler is a creative chef with a great following—and he’s a great human being,” continues Michel. “We’re thrilled to add his powerful voice to the importance of what we do. Plus he’s based in California, where we have our new West Coast office and where we’ve launched our FVRx partnership with Target. So he’s perfectly positioned to strengthen impacts and expand our work. It’s huge.”

Stay tuned for news of what he’ll be cooking up with Wholesome Wave.

About Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to make locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for the people who need it most. When people can afford produce, they buy it. And when the millions of Americans struggling with poverty eat more fruits and vegetables, we see immediate improvements for families and farmers—and enormous long-term gains for public health, local economies, and the environment. Our innovative initiatives serve hundreds of thousands of under-served consumers, as well as thousands of farmers annually, in 46 states and counting. Wholesomewave.org |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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6/28/16 Wholesome Wave Awarded Youth Wellness Grant by Target to Support Affordable Access to Healthful Produce for Los Angeles Residents

Bridgeport, CT – June 28, 2016 – Wholesome Wave is thrilled to announce it has been awarded two grants from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) for a total of $1.2 million as part of Target’s ongoing youth wellness efforts.

Wholesome Wave is a national nonprofit that inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to locally grown produce. Through this new partnership with Target, Wholesome Wave will launch the largest Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) program to date in Los Angeles. Alongside clinical and nutritional counseling, the program allows healthcare providers to offer families “prescriptions,” or vouchers, for fresh fruits and vegetables that can then be redeemed at both Target stores and farmers markets. Wholesome Wave will also offer a competitive grant program to members of its National Nutrition Incentive Network to kick-start subsequent expansion initiatives.

“Helping Americans struggling with poverty is something the private sector needs to take on full-force,” said Michel Nischan, Founder & CEO of Wholesome Wave. “Our partnership with Target, coupled with our partnership with over 700 farmers markets across the country, will do just that. There’s no better way to express the spirit of our great country than through feeding those who are falling on hard times by helping consumers put fresh fruits and vegetables on the table.”

“At Target, we are committed to helping make wellness a way of life for our team members, guests and communities,” said Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Target. “That’s why we are excited to partner with an impressive array of organizations who are already doing such important work to make an impact in the wellness space. Together, we will help remove barriers to wellness in our communities, working to increase the consumption of nutrient-dense food and physical activity of kids and families across the country.”

The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to help make wellness more affordable, accessible and inspirational for its team members, guests and communities. Target also is partnering closely with local leaders and organizations in communities around the country who are experts in youth wellness and actively working to close the wellness gap for children. These efforts are part of Target’s long history of giving 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million every week.

Launching in June 2016, the  Los Angeles FVRx program will increase affordable access to healthy produce for 500 pediatric patients at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center (EPFMC) and their families. Families can redeem prescriptions at any Target store across the country with over 20 stores within the greater Los Angeles Area, in addition to participating farmers markets operated by Sustainable Economic Enterprises of LA (SEE-LA). Finally, the families of high need patients will also be able to participate in intensive nutrition education classes offered by local non-profit, Groceryships, for 20 weeks at no cost. More than 98% of EPFMC’s patients are below 150% of the poverty level, approximately 82% are Latino, and 34% are age 12 or younger. 

About Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 40 states and counting. Wholesome Wave reaches more than 150,000 under-served consumers, as well as thousands of farmers annually. Wholesomewave.org |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,792 stores and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million a week. For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit Target.com/abullseyeview or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.

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6/8/16 Wholesome Wave Receives $500,000 Grant from USDA to Increase Healthy Food Access in Connecticut and Vermont

Bridgeport, CT (June 8, 2016) — Today, in the announcement of the second round of funding for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program, USDA awarded national nonprofit Wholesome Wave approximately $500,000 to increase affordable access to healthy food in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont through an innovative Farm-to-Grocery Nutrition Incentive model, which funds coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables that match the value of SNAP spent at participating grocery stores and increases locally-grown food those stores procure from nearby farmers.

Combined with an additional $500,000 from other funding sources, this project will amount to a $1 million investment in Connecticut and Vermont’s local food economies. Wholesome Wave will work with two community nonprofits, Hartford Food System and Green Mountain Farm to School, and eight local grocery stores, to help an estimated 5,000 people purchase more fresh produce. Participating stores will purchase approximately $122,0000 worth of regional produce from nearby CT and VT farmers. The project is expected to trigger $920,000 in SNAP and incentive purchases in just its first three years. Overall, this work will increase food access for low-income residents, support grocery stores as healthy food providers, strengthen local economies, and drive revenue to nearby farms.

“Wholesome Wave is thrilled by the innovations that USDA is supporting through the new FINI grants, which are taking the work of increasing affordable access to healthy food to even greater levels of impact,” said Michel Nischan, CEO & Founder of Wholesome Wave. “So many SNAP shoppers are working parents with limited time to source healthier food choices. Through the new Farm-to-Grocery model, our partners in VT and CT will be able to expand affordable access to SNAP consumers in a way that allows them to find and purchase more healthy food from a variety of retailers.”

Hartford, CT and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom both face high levels of poverty and are home to farmers seeking new markets for their healthful crops. Currently, 40% of Hartford’s children live in poverty and 42% of the city’s residents use SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Vermont’s rural Orleans and Essex Counties face similar challenges, with the highest poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity rates in the state. In the first iterations of healthy food incentives – which also match the value of SNAP spent – Wholesome Wave worked with local partners to offer them at farmers markets. By expanding healthy food incentives to grocery stores where many families already shop, this project will offer a promising solution to each community’s food access challenges. Wholesome Wave’s expertise in facilitating and scaling successful food access projects, combined with the local nonprofits’ experience within the communities, represents an ideal partnership to move this work forward. This project builds off Wholesome Wave’s existing work across 40 states and counting, including expansion through the large-scale FINI grant we received last year.

In particular, this year’s FINI grant expands on the successes of Wholesome Wave’s and partners’ efforts to pilot nutrition incentives in grocery stores in Connecticut and Vermont. In the first few months of 2016, Wholesome Wave invested in the Hartford, CT food system by providing SNAP consumers with $23,000 in nutrition incentives to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at two locally-owned grocery stores. During the program period, attributable at least in part to this project, SNAP sales at the local C-Town supermarket increased 7% and produce sales increased by 19% over the same period in 2015.

Executive Director of Hartford Food System, Martha Page, said: “As demonstrated in the pilot program, the SNAP Up! nutrition incentives are an excellent way to get more fresh fruits and vegetables on Hartford dinner tables. The enthusiastic response to the incentives by Hartford SNAP participants clearly shows that there is a demand for affordable, high quality produce. For our local farmers, this will represent a new customer base that they have not been able to easily access. We are so excited at the opportunity to bring Hartford area farmers and Hartford consumers together; we believe that we will prove that good food is good business!”

In its pilot year, the VT-based program demonstrated similar success. Almost $30,000 worth of produce vouchers were redeemed, with an astounding 93% redemption rate. A majority of participants said that the program allowed them to buy vegetables they otherwise could not afford. One participant noted: “I think it’s a wonderful program and it helps introduce people to fruits and vegetables that they normally wouldn’t buy because they don’t have enough money.” Katherine Sims, Executive Director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School, is enthused about the impact this additional grant will have: “The need and the want for fresh fruit and vegetables is clearly there in our communities. In the Northeast Kingdom, over a quarter of children are considered food insecure and don’t know where their next healthy meal will come from and through the grant we are glad that we’re able to help meet some of that demand. It’s also an opportunity to have those local stores source from area farmers and encourage participants in the program to purchase the local, healthy food that will help spur further economic growth in the region.”

National leaders emphasize how this new model will benefit their state’s economies, while increasing access to produce for low-income residents and improving the bottom line for regional farmers. “Increasing access to fresh, healthy food for the low-income residents of food deserts will help move our communities one step closer to ending food insecurity. The federal funding awarded to Bridgeport’s Wholesome Wave to help provide fresh produce to Hartford’s local grocers is an investment in an incredible partnership that will help ensure the well-being and health of Hartford’s residents,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut offered similar support and enthusiasm: “Just a few days ago, I was at Hartford Regional Market talking to local farmers and Hartford community leaders about better connecting local food to city grocery stores. This grant for Wholesome Wave is a great opportunity to make that happen. It just makes sense—we should help families afford locally-grown, fresh food at the grocery stores they already shop at. We worked so hard to get North Hartford its Promise Zone designation so that the city can hop to the front of the line when it comes to getting federal grants. Today shows why that’s so important.”

Connecticut’s representatives in the House have been supportive of the efforts to improve healthy food access in Hartford. “Too many in Hartford’s North End lack the most fundamental of human needs: fresh, healthy food. The energy needed to perform well in school or work comes from the food we eat, and no one in our country should ever be forced to go hungry. I applaud the USDA and Wholesome Wave of Bridgeport for recognizing the needs of Hartford. It is time to ensure affordable access to fresh, local produce in the North End,” said Rep. John Larson (CT-1). “Food deserts correlate very highly with areas of poverty across our country, and a lack of healthy and affordable food options can have a very detrimental effect, especially on children,” said Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4). “With this grant, we will be able to help more families eat nutritiously in Hartford and also support the excellent work that Wholesome Wave is doing right here in Bridgeport, creating innovative ways to bring healthy, local produce into more stores and kitchens.”

In addition, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the father of the Farm to School efforts in Child Nutrition Bills, supported Green Mountain Farm to School and Wholesome Wave’s FINI grant proposal with a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack in December. “Last year I supported Green Mountain Farm to School and its partnership with Wholesome Wave as they piloted a new way to support families helped by SNAP to stretch their food budgets, while boosting the economic viability of our local producers. Pairing SNAP with incentives to use local Vermont fruits and vegetables makes sense, and it’s a winning scenario for everyone. I am proud that Green Mountain Farm to School in its partnership with Wholesome Wave again has been selected to continue its extraordinary work of connecting our children, farms and communities throughout Vermont and New England.”

Through this project, neighborhood grocery stores will become access points for fresh local produce, and experience increased revenues. Beyond direct impact to the community, Wholesome Wave will use this project to develop a replicable Farm-to-Grocery Nutrition Incentive model that we can spread nationally through our national network of over 110 organizations, promising impact on a national scale. Programs in Hartford and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom are set to launch in August.

About Wholesome Wave:

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 40 states and counting. Wholesome Wave reaches more than 150,000 under-served consumers, as well as thousands of farmers annually. Wholesomewave.org. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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4/21/16 Wholesome Wave Raises Over $100,000 At First-Ever Benefit To Increase Access To Healthy Foods

NEW YORK ––  Wholesome Wave, the non-profit working to increase affordable access to local produce, raised more than $100,000 last evening, at the organization’s first-ever Wholesome Wave Benefit.  Founder of Wholesome Wave, three-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Michel Nischan honored his mentors, the late founder of Food & Wine, Michael Batterberry and the legendary Chef Jacques Pépin, for excellence in selfless culinary leadership in the spirit of making meaningful change. Additionally, Malique Harry, a young culinarian was presented the Jacques Pépin Mentorship Award.

More than 200 people attended the event at The Yale Club to support Wholesome Wave including Food Network star Tyler Florence, famed chocolatier, Jacques Torres, Chef and Restaurateur Seamus Mullen, and Chef Carmen Quagliata, all of whom prepared the meal with their protégées in honor of the night’s theme of mentorship. In keeping with Wholesome Wave’s mission, the menu highlighted local spring harvests, including pasture-raised meats by Fleishers Craft Butchery.
Chef Carmen Quagliata, Chef Jacques Pepin, Tyler Florence, Chef Michel Nischan, Jacques Torres and Chef Seamus Mullen holding the 2012 ONEHOPE Edna Valley Reserve Pinot Noir, with limited-edition label featuring a watercolor by Chef Jacques Pepin, benefiting Wholesome Wave.

Chef Carmen Quagliata, Chef Jacques Pepin, Tyler Florence, Chef Michel Nischan, Jacques Torres and Chef Seamus Mullen holding the 2012 ONEHOPE Edna Valley Reserve Pinot Noir, with limited-edition label featuring a watercolor by Chef Jacques Pepin, benefiting Wholesome Wave.

“It was completely humbling to see so many incredibly talented chefs come together in support of Wholesome Wave and in appreciation for Jacques Pépin” said Nischan. “Batterberry and Pépin, who both understood that food has more impact on human health, societal health, environmental health, community health, and economic health than any other single subject, have proven that the world could be made a far better place through the magic of food.”

“Wine Geek” Steve Olson brought thirteen sommeliers from top restaurants, all of whom helped pair and pour specially selected wines.  One notable wine that was poured with Michel Nischan’s course was the newly release private label wine benefiting Wholesome Wave, a 2012 ONEHOPE Edna Valley Reserve Pinot Noir, with limited-edition label featuring a watercolor by Pépin himself. The wine is available to purchase here: http://legacy.wholesomewave.org/wine/

The evening’s auction, hosted by Emcee Billy Harris, featured extraordinary experiences including a private dinner with Marcus Samuelsson and an exclusive experience with Wholesome Wave board member Tom Colicchio complete with dinner at Restaurant Wars on the “Top Chef” set. The auction raised a total of $50,250 for the charity.

All proceeds from last night’s event will benefit Wholesome Wave’s work nationwide, including nutrition incentive programs to match the value of SNAP (food stamps) spent at farmer’s markets and partnerships with healthcare providers to write innovative prescriptions for fruits and vegetables for low-income families at risk of diet-related diseases. The money raised was enough to cover the cost of 48 tons of carrots which will supply one serving a day to 480,000 children.

To access photos from last night’s Wholesome Wave Benefit, click here:
http://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/gyipa_public?nav=pr392338875

About Wholesome Wave:
Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 40 states and counting. Wholesome Wave reaches more than 150,000 under-served consumers, as well as thousands of farmers annually. Wholesomewave.org. Facebook | Twitter |Instagram

CONTACTS

Media:
Erika Gable erika@thedooronline.com (315) 247-0217
Heather Muhleman heather@thedooronline.com (914) 299-5533
Gabrielle Langholtz | Wholesome Wave | gabrielle@legacy.wholesomewave.org

4/4/16 Longtime American Express Publishing CEO Ed Kelly Takes on New Role as Chief Expansion Officer of Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave, the non-profit working nationally to increase affordable access to local produce, announces that respected publishing-industry veteran Ed Kelly has joined the organization as its Chief Expansion Officer (CXO).

Kelly will apply his impressive track record of building, growing and revitalizing brands to the Wholesome Wave network. Founded in 2007 by James Beard award-winning chef Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave reaches over 150,000 low-income Americans nationwide, in 40 states and counting. By drawing on his deep relationships and developing innovative alliances, Kelly will identify and capitalize on opportunities to realize the next level of Wholesome Wave’s growth.

In his more than 25 years at American Express Publishing, Kelly led significant bottom-line growth by diversifying the portfolio through organic investment and global expansion, serving as CEO and President for nearly 15 years until its sale to Time Inc. in 2013. Kelly oversaw affluent lifestyle brands Travel + Leisure, Departures, Food & Wine, Executive Travel and Black Ink, including their respective print, digital and experiential initiatives.

But Kelly’s charitable commitments are as impressive as his executive cred. He serves as a board member of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and co-founded The Kelly Gang, a group of fellow Kellys—including former police commissioner Ray Kelly, NY Post “Media Ink” columnist Keith Kelly and Hearst SVP Kate Kelly Smith—who have together raised over $700,000 for charity. Building on this legacy of charitable work, Kelly saw the full-time opportunity at Wholesome Wave as an obvious next step.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Michel and the Wholesome Wave team to accelerate the tremendous work done to date—to make local produce more affordable and accessible nationwide,” said Kelly. “I’m also excited to re-engage with the epicurean world I love and respect so much.” (Wholesome Wave has long been a charitable beneficiary of Food & Wine magazine.)

“Ed perfectly fits the new mold of innovation-and-growth executive,” said Craig Lomma, Wholesome Wave’s Chief Operating Officer. “He’ll bring powerful skills to Wholesome Wave as we embark on creating sustainable revenue streams to expand food access and affordability beyond what would have would have been possible in traditional ways.”

“Ed brings a high-level skill set to the Wholesome Wave family that will propel us into a more sustainable food future, from both a business and social impact perspective,” said CEO Michel Nischan. “His pedigree, as well as his established track record of innovation and collaboration, is a great fit for Wholesome Wave’s operating style. Ed brings the type of serious business chops that will serve us well as we look to significant growth in the field.”

About Wholesome Wave:

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 40 states and counting. Partnering with over 110 community-based organizations at more than 730 farmers markets, community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets, Wholesome Wave reaches more than 150,000 under-served consumers annually. wholesomewave.org

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

CONTACTS

Media:

Erika Gable | The Door | erika@thedooronline.com | (315) 247-0217

Heather Muhleman | The Door | heather@thedooronline.com | (914) 299-5533

Gabrielle Langholtz | Wholesome Wave | gabrielle@legacy.wholesomewave.org

3/24/16 WHOLESOME WAVE TO HOLD BENEFIT DINNER APRIL 20

Five-Course Gala Dinner by Celebrity Chefs: Wholesome Wave Founder

Michel Nischan, plus Tyler Florence, Seamus Mullen, Carmen Quagliata and Jacques Torres

Evening honors Culinary Legends Jacques Pépin And the late Michael Batterberry

New York, NY (March 28, 2016) – Wholesome Wave, the non-profit working nationally to increase affordable access to local produce, is announcing its inaugural benefit, a five-course seated dinner by celebrity chefs on Wednesday, April 20th at The Yale Club of New York City.

The evening’s theme is mentorship, and Wholesome Wave’s founder, James Beard Award-winning Chef Michel Nischan, will honor his own mentors, Jacques Pépin and the late Michael Batterberry. Chef Pépin will also present the first ever Jacques Pépin Mentorship Award to an aspiring young culinarian chosen by C-CAP.

Each of the evening’s courses will be prepared by a different renowned chef: Nischan himself, plus Tyler Florence, Seamus Mullen and Carmen Quagliata, followed by dessert from famed chocolatier Jacques Torres, with drink pairings throughout by “Wine Geek” Steve Olson. In keeping with Wholesome Wave’s mission, the menu will highlight local spring harvests, including pasture-raised meats by Fleishers Craft Butchery.

The event will also feature Wholesome Wave’s newly released private label wine, 2012 ONEHOPE Edna Valley Reserve Pinot Noir with limited-edition label featuring a watercolor by Pépin himself. Billy Harris will host a live auction of extraordinary experiences including private dinner for six with Marcus Samuelsson, the renowned 20-session Technique course at the International Culinary Center, and an exclusive experience with Wholesome Wave board member Tom Colicchio complete with dinner at Restaurant Wars on the “Top Chef” set.

“It is so humbling to see so many incredibly talented chefs come together in their appreciation for Jacques, and in support of Wholesome Wave,” said Nischan. “Michael and Jacques have selflessly given so much to the food industry, and in ways that have made being a chef a true badge of personal pride and accomplishment. It’s a privilege to acknowledge their invaluable contributions by inspiring others to make the world a better place through food.”

The night’s proceeds will support Wholesome Wave’s work nationwide, including nutrition incentive programs to match the value of SNAP (food stamps) spent at farmer’s markets and partnerships with healthcare providers to write innovative prescriptions for fruits and vegetables for low-income families at risk of diet-related diseases.

WHERE: The Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Avenue New York, NY 10017

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tickets begin at $375 and can be purchased here.

About Wholesome Wave:

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires under-served consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 38 states and counting. Partnering with over 90 community-based organizations at more than 550 farmers markets and dozens of community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets, Wholesome Wave reaches more than 150,000 under-served consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers annually. wholesomewave.org

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

CONTACTS

Media:

Erika Gable | The Door | erika@thedooronline.com | (315) 247-0217

Heather Muhleman | The Door | heather@thedooronline.com | (914) 299-5533

Gabrielle Langholtz | Wholesome Wave | gabrielle@legacy.wholesomewave.org

Sponsorships & Table Sales

Margaret Wetzler | Wholesome Wave | margaret@legacy.wholesomewave.org | (415) 844-0071

 

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2/3/16 CHEF MICHEL NISCHAN WELCOMES ALL-STAR LINEUP OF CELEBRITY CHEFS TO WILLIE NELSON'S PRIVATE RANCH FOR THE "CHEFS' POT LUCK"

For Immediate Release

Event kicks off the Luck Reunion music festival with a Texas feast and exclusive performance by Willie himself benefitting Nischan’s nonprofit Wholesome Wave.

Tickets Now On Sale

Austin, TX – Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit increasing affordable access to healthy food, announces tickets are on sale for Chefs’ Pot Luck, a culinary fundraiser held on Thursday, March 17th at the private ranch of music legend Willie Nelson. In the heart of Texas Hill Country, 45 minutes from Austin, the Chefs’ Pot Luck dinner will offer a panoramic countryside food-and-music excursion during the annual South by Southwest Festival. All proceeds from the star-studded event will benefit Wholesome Wave’s work to increase access to local produce in under-served communities nationwide.

Wholesome Wave’s co-founder and CEO Chef Michel Nischan, the highly accredited chef and 2015 James Beard Award winner for Humanitarian of the Year, will be joined by an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs including the proclaimed “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” Dean Fearing, the James Beard Award-winning Scott Conant, Food Network star Michael Chiarello and longtime sustainable food trailblazer John Mitchell. As the suns sets, the 225 guests will gather family-style at farm tables. The menu will highlight fresh, sustainable ingredients, including dishes such as “Willie’s Chili” by Michel Nischan, Scott Conant’s Fried Chicken, Dean Fearing’s Wood-Grilled Big Hunks of Meat with West Texas Mop, plus Campfire Cowboy Beans and Cornbread Pudding.

Wholesome Wave is proud to partner with Fleisher’s Craft Butchery and Niman Ranch to source the evening’s ethically delicious meats, and with Tito’s Vodka, a premier spirit brand that focuses on promoting sustainability and supporting local communities.

Singer/songwriter Aubrie Sellers will perform during the cocktail hour. Following dinner, guests will enjoy a private moonlit performance from Willie Nelson himself.

The Chef’s Pot Luck serves as a kickoff for the Luck Reunion, an exclusive daylong festival showcasing over 30 acts spanning country, rock, folk and soul on the iconic Luck, TX grounds on Friday, March 18.

Individual tickets for the Chefs’ Pot Luck start at $550 per person. For more information and to purchase tables or tickets, visit: http://luckreunion.com/chefspotluck/ or http://legacy.wholesomewave.org/luck/

Wholesome Wave has also partnered with CharityBuzz to auction two tickets to the Chefs’ Pot Luck which includes two seats at a prime table, meet & greet with the celebrity chefs and Willie Nelson, two reserved front-row seats for the Willie Nelson performance and two VIP tickets to the Luck Reunion music festival the next day on March 18. The auction goes live today, Thursday, February 4th. More info here.

About Wholesome Wave:

Wholesome Wave is a nonprofit working to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires underserved consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies in 37 states and counting. Partnering with over 90 community-based organizations at more than 550 farmers markets and dozens of community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets, Wholesome Wave reaches more than 50,000 under-served consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers annually. Learn more at wholesomewave.org

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

CONTACTS

Media:

Sophie Latapie | The Door

sophie@thedooronline.com

(917) 374 4266

Sponsorships & Table Tickets:

Margaret Wetzler | Wholesome Wave

margaret@legacy.wholesomewave.org

(415) 844 0071

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2/3/16 U.S. CONGRESS HOLDS FIRST-EVER HEARING ON HEALTHY-FOOD INCENTIVES

Innovative tool gaining ground – Hearing found that these incentives improve both public health and agricultural economies.

February 3, 2016 — The House Subcommittee on Nutrition today held its first-ever Congressional Hearing on Nutrition Incentives. The stated purpose was “to review incentive programs aimed at increasing low-income families’ purchasing power for fruits and vegetables.”

Nutrition incentives, an innovative idea first trialed a decade ago and now gaining momentum nationwide, encourage consumers to spend their federal nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, etc.) on healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, at farmers markets and grocery stores, by matching the amount the customer spends. The incentives have quickly won bi-partisan support as an effective way to reduce obesity and diet-related disease, while simultaneously increasing revenue for local agricultural economies.

In 2014 Congress passed the FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive) program which, through the Agriculture Act (aka Farm Bill), provides $100M over 5 years for SNAP consumers to purchase fruits & vegetables. In the first round of FINI funding, Wholesome Wave, a non-profit working nationally to increase affordable access to healthy foods, received $3.7M from the USDA for a $7.4M multi-year program to provide nutrition incentives and support for network members processing incentives across the country. These programs deliver the dual benefit of helping food-insecure families access much-needed produce while also directly supporting America’s farmers. Wholesome Wave facilitates the National Nutrition Incentive Network–-a national, peer-to-peer community of practice sharing technical assistance among the operators of 600 farmers markets, CSA and mobile markets nationwide, reaching about 100,000 customers annually.

The hearing demonstrated bi-partisan interest in making nutrition incentives work, and growing momentum around the innovative solutions they offer. Witness included representatives from non-profits, city governments, food banks and healthcare, as well as SNAP participants, who together demonstrated that, put simply, these programs work.

In her opening remarks, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski R-IN (Chair) explained, “What we are here to do today is to ask, ‘how can we incentivize and encourage people, particularly low-income families who are at a higher risk of malnutrition, to eat healthier?’”

The hearings focused on the role that incentives can play in improving health, especially for low-income people enrolled in the SNAP program. Multiple experts, including Congressman McGovern, referred to “food as medicine” and the hearing emphasized one major benefit of incentive programs: keeping people out of emergency rooms, and keeping health care costs down. McGovern even called for a Veterans’ farmers market nutrition program and for the VA to put farmers markets at more VA hospitals. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” said three experts, including McGovern. Michigan-based Fair Food Network CEO Oran Hesterman put it another way: “Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later.”

Wholesome Wave operates a collaborative project with Fair Food Network, and the two non-profits share a long history of partnering to expand the adoption of nutrition incentives nationally, as well as develop evidence on their impacts.

This hearing came on the heels of Tuesday’s House Agriculture hearing about the benefits of direct-to-consumer marketing, in which nutrition incentives can play an important role for producers reaching low-income consumers.

Some may see the Farm Bill as only relevant to rural America, but House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway is laying the groundwork for the next version with an eye towards bolstering the urban-rural coalition historically needed to pass it.  A perfect example, nutrition incentives offer a double win: fresh produce for the Americans who need it most, and additional sales for America’s farmers.

Watch the hearing here.

Chef Michel Nischan, Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave, and Gus Schumacher, the organization’s founding board chair and a former USDA Under Secretary, are available for comment on this historic, landmark discussion. Wholesome Wave is a groundbreaking non-profit dedicated to making fresh fruit and vegetables affordable and accessible in under-served communities through nutrition incentives.

Nischan and Schumacher, leading experts in affordable access to healthy food, can break down the main talking points regarding incentive programs that aim to increase low-income families’ purchasing power for fruits and vegetables. These points include but are not limited to:

  • The connections between Agriculture Direct Marketing (farmers markets, CSA shares, etc.) and Nutrition Incentive Programs like SNAP benefits (food stamps) and WIC programs – Wholesome Wave has helped over 100k consumers annually access fresh, local produce at farmers markets around the country
  • Wholesome Wave’s nutrition-focused programs:
    • The National Nutrition Incentive Network → offers technical support and capacity building to a national network of Nutrition Incentive providers.
    • Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program → works with healthcare professionals to prescribe produce to families at risk of diet-related disease.
  • How local farmers are exponentially benefitting from these nutrition incentive-focused programs across the country (more customers means more income for farmers)

For more information and to request an interview with Chef Michel Nischan, please contact Gabrielle Langholtz | gabrielle@legacy.wholesomewave.org or

Heather Muhleman | heather@thedooronline.com | 914-299-5533 or Sophie Latapie | sophie@thedooronilne.com | 917-374-4266

2015

10/15/15 Million in Grants to Incentivize Purchase of Healthy Food By SNAP Consumers Available from U.S. Department of Agriculture

MEDIA CONTACT:
Margaret Wetzler
Margaret@legacy.wholesomewave.org

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2015

(Bridgeport, CT) On Tuesday October 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that up to $16.8 million in grant funds will be available for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) competitive grant program to incentivize the purchase of fruit and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) consumers. The grants, administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in partnership with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will be available to local, state and national organizations representing various parts of the food system through three categories of funding: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 in one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years).

“FINI represents a tremendous, unprecedented opportunity to support the health of low-income Americans using SNAP. I commend Secretary Vilsack and the rest of the leadership at the USDA for their hard work to develop opportunities for increased access to healthy fruits and vegetables that simultaneously support the livelihoods of farmers throughout our nation,” said Wholesome Wave Founder & CEO, Michel Nischan.

Earlier in 2015, USDA awarded $31.5 million in FINI grants to 31 projects in 26 states, using the combined farm bill funds for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Wholesome Wave received a $3.77 million three-year FINI grant from the USDA to support expansion of Wholesome Wave’s national network of nutrition incentive programs, increasing affordable access of fruits and vegetables for more than 110,000 SNAP consumers in 17 states and DC, establishing a minimum of 177 new incentive programs at direct-to-consumer outlets, and developing the first randomized controlled trial of incentive programs, while simultaneously benefiting more than 3,400 small and mid-sized farm businesses. The Agriculture Act of 2014 authorized $100 million for FINI between 2014 and 2018, including $35 million for 2014 and 2015 combined.

Since 2008, Wholesome Wave’s national network of nutrition incentive programs has been increasing fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP consumers at direct-to-consumer markets. Today, Wholesome Wave’s network extends to work with nearly 89 community-based organizations at more than 550 direct-to-consumer markets in 36 states and D.C. Wholesome Wave facilitates and builds capacity for a national network of SNAP nutrition incentive programs, connecting and supporting healthy food practitioners across the country. Its network is a robust community of innovation and learning, linking incentive programs through uniform data collection and evaluation to support the expansion and adoption of incentives through policy.

For more information on the FINI application process, see the Request for Applications or this summary blog from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Applications are due December 16, 2015. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on October 14, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., EDT at http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/finip/.

To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.

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Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it inspires underserved consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies. Implemented nationwide in collaboration with community-based partners at farmers markets, community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets, its initiatives reach more than 50,000 underserved consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers annually.

4/1/15 Wholesome Wave Receives $3.77 Million Grant from United States Department of Agriculture for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program Benefiting Food Insecure Americans, Local and Regional Farmers

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ashley Gaudiano
571-278-2711
agaudiano@legacy.wholesomewave.org 

For Immediate Release

April 1, 2015

Wholesome Wave Receives $3.77 Million Grant from United States Department of Agriculture for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program Benefiting Food Insecure Americans, Local and Regional Farmers

(Bridgeport, CT) In an announcement today by Secretary Tom Vilsack of the US Department of Agriculture, Wholesome Wave received a $3.77 million grant from the USDA through the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program. With the required matching funds contributed by Wholesome Wave and partners, the funds represent a $7.4 million commitment to affordable food access. This three-year grant will support expansion of Wholesome Wave’s national network of nutrition incentive programs, increasing affordable access of fruits and vegetables for more than 110,000 SNAP consumers in 17 states and DC, establishing a minimum of 177 new incentive programs at direct-to-consumer outlets, while simultaneously benefiting more than 3,400 small and mid-sized farm businesses.

Wholesome Wave’s grant is one of many announced as part of the larger $31.5 million allocated for the FINI grant program this year, a significant stride taken by the government to empower our nation’s most food insecure to make healthy food choices.

“It is an honor for Wholesome Wave to be awarded such a significant grant from the USDA. This funding will build the capacity of nearly three-dozen community based organizations in 17 states and D.C. to provide incentives for fruit and vegetable purchases for SNAP consumers and their families. It also supports a rigorous evaluation of incentives’ impact on fruit and vegetable purchase and consumption. I look forward to seeing the tremendous impact this funding will have in the lives of SNAP consumers and farmers,” says Wholesome Wave Founder and CEO, Michel Nischan.

Specifically, Wholesome Wave’s FINI Large-Scale Project will build the capacity of 32 sub-grantee community-based organizations that operate over 425 nutrition incentive programs in order to sustain their programs beyond the three-year FINI project, as well as to increase the number of SNAP consumers participating in incentive programs and the amount of SNAP dollars spent on healthy fruits and vegetables. Wholesome Wave’s project will also contribute to the evidence base on the impact of incentive programs. Using a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) research design, Wholesome Wave will conduct the first RCT on incentive programs, measuring the impact of selected incentive program innovations on SNAP consumers’ purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

In addition to receiving a $3.77 million grant for its Large-Scale project, Wholesome Wave is being allocated an additional $750,000 through its role as the sub-grantee on four additional FINI grant projects. Through a new partnership with the AARP Foundation, Wholesome Wave will serve as a technical assistance partner to provide capacity building expertise, as well as branding, marketing and outreach assistance for SNAP incentive programs in Mississippi and Tennessee. In Florida, Wholesome Wave will expand its RCT evaluation to 12 additional farmers market sites through a continued partnership with Florida Certified Organic Growers (FOG). Utilizing its retail and food hub experience, Wholesome Wave will also serve as a technical assistance provider to Green Mountain Farm-to-School (VT) and Maine Farmland Trust (ME), as both groups work to deploy SNAP incentives retail grocery outlets and aggregated CSA’s, respectively.

“This USDA SNAP nutrition incentive award is a watershed moment for me and my colleagues at Wholesome Wave. This initiative will provide our vulnerable seniors, disabled veterans, working poor and children on SNAP with the opportunity to access healthy, local fruits and vegetables provided by hardworking family farmers. I especially want to commend the leadership at USDA, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Chairman Frank Lucas, and the NIFA Advisory Committee who expeditiously reviewed grant applications. Funding was ensured in a timely manner, especially for the upcoming 2015 farmers market season,” says Gus Schumacher, Wholesome Wave Vice President.

Since 2008, Wholesome Wave’s national network of nutrition incentive programs has been increasing fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP consumers at direct-to-consumer markets. Today, Wholesome Wave’s network extends to work with nearly 80 community-based organizations at more than 500 direct-to-consumer markets in 31 states and D.C. Wholesome Wave facilitates and builds capacity for a national network of SNAP nutrition incentive programs, connecting and supporting healthy food practitioners across the country. Its network is a robust community of innovation and learning, linking incentive programs through uniform data collection and evaluation to support the expansion and adoption of incentives through policy.

Subgrantees on Wholesome Wave’s FINI grant project include: Heirloom Farmers Markets (AZ); Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, CSA Program (Washington, D.C.); Wholesome Wave Georgia (GA); Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (HI); Abita Springs Farmers Market (LA); Maine Farmland Trust (ME); Webb City Farmers Market (MO); Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (MO); No More Empty Pots (NE); On the Ranch Farmers Market (NV); New Hampshire Food Bank (NH); City Green (NJ); The City of Jersey City (NJ); Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga (OH); Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County (OH); Special Improvements District Public Services Association (OH); Fair Food Philly (PA); Farm Fresh Rhode Island (RI); NOFA-VT (VT); Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture (VA); Arlington Farmers Market (VA); Appalachian Sustainable Development (VA); Blacksburg Friends of the Farmers Market (VA); Fairfax County Park Authority (VA); Four Mile Run Farmers Market (VA); FRESHFARM Markets, Inc. (VA); Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP) Inc. (VA); Old Town Farmers Market (VA); The Farmers Market.Co (VA); Williamsburg Farmers Market (VA); Fondy Food Center (WI); Eastern Area Health Education Center (WV).

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Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, it enables underserved consumers to make healthier food choices. Its innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies. Implemented nationwide in collaboration with community-based partners at farmers markets, community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets, its initiatives reach more than 50,000 underserved consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers annually. To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.

2/3/15 Lightlife and Wholesome Wave Partner to Provice Access to Affordable, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Underserved Communities

Contact:

Kelsey Revens

360 Public Relations

617-585-5794

krevens@360pr.com

Lightlife continues its heritage of giving back 5% of profits to causes that benefit a better planet and healthier lifestyles.

TURNERS FALLS, MA (February 3, 2015) – Lightlife, a pioneer in plant protein and vegetarian eating, today announced a partnership with Wholesome Wave, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system for everyone. Providing underserved consumers with access to affordable, fresh, local fruits and vegetables, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms, and bolstering local and regional economies. Lightlife’s support will allow Wholesome Wave to grow its Double Value Coupon Program, a revolutionary network of nutrition incentive programs operated at farmers markets across the country that provide low-income consumers with a monetary incentive when they spend their federal nutrition benefits at a participating farmers market.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Lightlife, a brand committed to supporting the health of people and the planet, to expand the Double Value Coupon Program, among other Wholesome Wave initiatives,” said Michel Nischan, James Beard Award Winning Chef and Wholesome Wave Founder and CEO. “Lightlife’s contribution will provide thousands of families’ access to affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables, greatly improving their diets and overall health.”

Founded in 1979, Lightlife is now the top-selling refrigerated meat alternative and tempeh brand in the United States. The company is passionate about creating great tasting, vegetarian food, and giving back to the community has always been a top priority. For over 35 years Lightlife has contributed 5% of its annual profits to organizations that support a better planet and healthier lifestyles. In addition to Wholesome Wave, Lightlife also supports several local charities near its home in Western Massachusetts.

“Wholesome Wave’s mission is perfectly aligned with our core values as a company,” said Brad Lahrman, Director of Marketing at Lightlife. “We’re excited to be a part of Wholesome Wave’s mission, and look forward to seeing our contributions directly benefit local economies and healthier, more affordable eating habits nationwide.”

The category leader, Lightlife is always innovating providing new solutions to consumers seeking healthy, plant-based proteins. Lightlife products can be found in the produce or dairy section of grocery and natural food stores nationwide. To learn more about Lightlife, its mission and its products visit www.Lightlife.com or visit its social media channels at www.Facebook.com/Lightlife, www.Twitter.com/Lightlife and www.Pinterest.com/LightlifeFoods. To learn more about Wholesome Wave, visit www.WholesomeWave.org, www.Facebook.com/Wholesomewave, www.Twitter.com/WholesomeWave and http://www.instagram.com/wholesomewave.

About Lightlife

A pioneer in meatless proteins, Lightlife was founded in Western Massachusetts in 1979 with a passion for creating great tasting vegetarian food. Over the years, the brand has grown by sticking to its roots emphasizing quality and care in everything it makes, and giving 5% of its profits back to organizations that support a healthier “you” and a healthier planet. Today, Lightlife strives to make plant-based eating more accessible, delicious and easy with a variety of meatless solutions for all diets. To learn more about Lightlife, visit www.Lightlife.com or visit its social media channels at www.Facebook.com/Lightlife, www.Twitter.com/Lightlife and www.Pinterest.com/LightlifeFoods.

About Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system for everyone. By making fresh, locally and regionally grown foods more affordable and accessible, we enable underserved consumers to make healthier food choices. With programs in 27 states and DC, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms and bolstering local and regional economies. To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or visit its social media channels at http://www.facebook.com/wholesomewave, http://www.twitter.com/wholesomewave, and http://www.instagram.com/wholesomewave.

 

2014

11/20/14 - Wholesome Wave Receives $900,000 grant from Newman's Own Foundation: Part of Innovative Nutrition Cohort to Help Improve Nutrition Access and Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT
Ashley Gaudiano
571-278-2711
agaudiano@legacy.wholesomewave.org                                           

WHOLESOME WAVE RECEIVES $900,000 GRANT FROM
NEWMAN’S OWN FOUNDATION

Part of Innovative Nutrition Cohort to Help Improve Nutrition Access and Education

Bridgeport, CT – Wholesome Wave has been awarded a three-year $900,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. The funding supports Wholesome Wave’s participation in a special Nutrition Cohort, a group of six nonprofits and one research organization that will each bring distinctive expertise and programming to collaborate and collectively pursue greater impact.

The Cohort is being developed by Newman’s Own Foundation to help improve health among children and families in underserved communities through fresh food access and nutrition education. It is an innovative approach that creates a network of peers, each with unique and complementary knowledge and experience, to share best practices and collectively accelerate systems change on a national level.

The grant to Wholesome Wave will be used to expand its Double Value Coupon Program and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, as well as study the collective impact of these programs. Qualitative and quantitative data collected through rigorous evaluation is used by Wholesome Wave to advance local, state and federal policy that increases affordable access to local and regional foods and improves health.

“We are incredibly grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for this three year grant, and for the opportunity to work with a cohort of organizations whose missions align with ours. This funding will allow Wholesome Wave to continue its work to increase affordable access and improve health for all consumers, regardless of income,” says Wholesome Wave CEO, Michel Nischan.

Wholesome Wave is dedicated to enabling underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to local and regional foods.

“There is tremendous potential in combining the knowledge, experience, and national networks of these organizations to accelerate the impact of improving nutrition in urban and rural communities,” said Lisa Walker, Managing Director, Newman’s Own Foundation. “We are inspired by the early progress being made by Wholesome Wave, and we are excited about bringing several organizations together through the Cohort.”

The other five Nutrition Cohort organizations are: Fair Food Network (Ann Arbor, MI), FoodCorps, Inc. (New York, NY), Food Trust (Philadelphia, PA), National Farm to School Network (Chicago, IL), and Wellness in the Schools (New York, NY). Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition (North Grafton, MA) will provide research assistance to lend expertise in nutrition and evaluate the Cohort’s impact.

Newman’s Own Foundation will work with the Nutrition Cohort over a three-year period to coordinate efforts and brainstorm ideas for improving nutrition.

The Foundation is providing $4.5 million in grants for the Cohort program as part of its overall $10 million support of nonprofits that increase fresh food access and nutrition education in underserved communities. Other funding has been allocated to 29 nonprofits across the country that are focused on nutrition initiatives.

For more information about the Nutrition Cohort, visit: www.newmansownfoundation.org

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Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system for everyone. By making fresh, locally and regionally grown foods more affordable and accessible, we enable underserved community members to make healthier food choices. With programs in 25 states and DC, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms, and bolstering local and regional economies. To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.

10/26/14 - Doctors at HHC Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospitals Write Fruit & Vegetable “Prescriptions” for Vulnerable Children and their Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Bender, 212-788-3339, benderj1@nychhc.org
Ian Michaels, 212-788-3339, ian.michaels@nychhc.org

Doctors at HHC Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospitals Write Fruit & Vegetable “Prescriptions” for Vulnerable Children and their Families

First Year of FVRx Program in Harlem and the South Bronx Increased Consumption of Healthy Food, Lowered BMI in 40 percent of Children, and Gave Families Access to More Fresh Foods

(New York, NY ― October 16, 2014) The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced the expansion of a program that allows doctors at HHC’s Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospital Centers to write fruit and vegetable “prescriptions” to children who are overweight or obese to help improve access to healthy food and promote overall health and wellness in the community. First adopted by HHC hospitals in the South Bronx and Harlem last summer, the Wholesome Wave Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program (FVRx) proved successful in its first year when the program at HHC Harlem Hospital Center and HHC Lincoln Medical Center helped 40 percent of the enrolled children lower their Body Mass Index (BMI) and more than half of the families reported having more food to eat at home.

“A prescription for healthy food at an affordable price can be even better than a prescription for medicine,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “When doctors don’t just ask patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, but take concrete steps to make it easier for them and to demonstrate the benefits, patients listen. Obesity is a significant problem for children in New York City. With HHC’s excellent primary care services and community collaborations like this one, we can help children learn at an early age that a healthy lifestyle and good food choices strongly affect their future health and wellbeing.”

“The 2013 FVRx HHC pilot showed tremendous beneficial impact on pediatric patients, including increased fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased BMI, and reductions in food insecurity,” said Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave President and CEO. “The success of the FVRx New York City pilot has helped Wholesome Wave develop a robust model for national replication based on strong public and private partnerships and refined the argument for hospitals to adopt FVRx as a health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategy.”

“We are thrilled with the success of the innovative FVRx pilot program and are proud to announce the expansion in New York City to Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospitals,” said Laurie M. Tisch, president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which collaborated with Wholesome Wave, HHC and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to bring FVRx to New York. “At the Illumination Fund, we are dedicated to providing increased access and opportunity to New Yorkers by supporting initiatives related to healthy food, the arts, economic development and civic service. Through continued collaboration with our great partners, I am confident that the FVRx NYC program will continue to impact positively even more members of our community.”

“The incentive programs we operate at our hospital-based Greenmarkets, such as the market outside Elmhurst Hospital, greatly contribute to farmers’ success while significantly impacting community health,” says GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz. “We value this partnership with Wholesome Wave and thank HHC for their leadership in recognizing that wellness begins with what we put into our bodies. Farm-fresh food is the healthiest option and this win-win program addresses both the economic and physical health of our rural and urban communities.”

“The negative health outcomes for families who have been chronically deprived from the ability to purchase enough healthy food can be devastating,” said Barbara Turk, New York City’s Food Policy Director. “I am pleased to support the expansion of the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, an innovative partnership between city government and the nonprofit sector that has given New York City communities additional purchasing power to invest in their health.”

“The expansion of FVRx is a welcome addition to our ongoing efforts in improving the health of the community we serve,” said Chris Constantino, HHC Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Elmhurst Hospital. “Based on previous successes in the South Bronx and Harlem, we are confident this program has the potential to make a really positive impact in the overall health of our children and community.”

“Providing nutritional awareness and healthy food choices play a vital role in improving the health of our patients,” said Andrew B. Wallach, MD, FACP, Clinical Director, Ambulatory Care, Bellevue Hospital Center. “It’s been shown that incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into one’s diet helps improve overall health and well-being. That’s why we are excited to offer this program to our Bellevue community.”

About the HHC/Wholesome Wave FVRx Program

HHC selects pediatric patients for FVRx based on age and BMI eligibility. Over the course of four months, during farmers market season, patients receive a “prescription” to eat more fruit and vegetables. The prescription is designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for the entire family and is typically valued at $1 per day per household member ($28 per week for a family of four). This year, Wholesome Wave is piloting a $.50 incentive at two of the FVRx hospitals ($14 per week for a family of four). The prescription is exchanged on-site for Health Bucks, a city-wide Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program, which can be used at all New York City farmers markets.

Program participants at Elmhurst and Harlem Hospital Centers can use Health Bucks at farmers markets on-site or elsewhere throughout New York City. Participants at Bellevue Hospital have a unique opportunity to participate in a Fresh Food Box program operated by GrowNYC. FVRx patients can exchange their prescription for Health Bucks and choose to purchase a Fresh Food Box that includes 10 pounds of fresh produce for $10 or patients can use their Health Bucks at farmers markets throughout NYC. The Fresh Food Box program is available every Tuesday at Bellevue Hospital through December.

Each month, patients return to the hospital to meet with their doctor and/or nutritionist, renew their fruit and vegetable prescriptions, have their weight and BMI evaluated, and receive nutritional counseling leading to self-management goals for healthy eating. Monthly visits help keep patients and their families on track, and keep communication open between participants and their healthcare providers.

Elmhurst’s FVRx program will run until November and expects to reach 400 children and family members. Bellevue’s program will run until December and will impact about 250 children and family members.

An analysis by Wholesome Wave presented the following first year results (final report available) of the FVRx program at Harlem Hospital Center and Lincoln Medical Center, where more than 550 children and family members benefited:

  • Nearly 96 percent of families and 97 percent of children increased consumption of fruits and vegetables;
  • At the completion of the program, 71 percent of households reported having enough of the kinds of foods they want to eat, compared to only 29 percent of households at the start of the program;
  • 40 percent of children lowered their BMI;
  • More than 90 percent of participants reported shopping at local farmers markets weekly or more than 2-3 times per month;
  • 70 percent of patients reported an increase in knowledge about the importance of fruits and vegetables in their family’s diets;
  • 97 percent of patients were happy with their healthy weight program because of their participation in FVRx.

Overall, eight HHC hospitals host farmers markets in partnership with Harvest Home and Greenmarket. Elmhurst Hospital Center hosts one on Tuesdays through December 23; and Harlem Hospital Center on Fridays through November 1.

Shoppers at farmers markets can pay for their fresh fruits and vegetables using EBT cards (food stamps), Health Bucks, Green Checks, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons or WIC coupons.

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About HHC
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system, the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country, and one of the New York area’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlus Health Plan, the plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visitwww.nyc.gov/hhc or find us on facebook.com/nycHHC or twitter.com/HHCnyc.

About Wholesome Wave
Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system for everyone. By making fresh, locally and regionally grown foods more affordable and accessible, Wholesome Wave enables underserved community members to make healthier food choices. With programs in 25 states and DC, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms and bolstering local and regional economies. To learn more visitwww.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.

About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund (LMTIF) is a New York City-based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers. Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch, the Illumination Fund plays an active role in supporting innovative approaches to education, the arts, healthy food and civic service in order to illuminate strategies that transform our urban landscape. For more information about the Illumination Fund, visit:http://www.lmtilluminationfund.org/.

About GrowNYC
GrowNYC is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that works to make New York City more sustainable, and improve the lives of all New Yorkers. Reaching two million New Yorkers every year, GrowNYC operates Greenmarket farmers markets, engages New Yorkers in recycling education and resources, builds and maintains green spaces and engages young people in hands-on education. Learn more at www.grownyc.org.

Photo Credit Glenn Charles

9/29/14 - Wholesome Wave Celebrates Allocation of $31.5 Million for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program Benefiting Food Insecure Americans, Local and Regional Farmers

Media Contact:
Ashley Gaudiano
571-278-2711
agaudiano@legacy.wholesomewave.org

For Immediate Release

September 29, 2014

(Bridgeport, CT) Today, Wholesome Wave, alongside our national network of partners, celebrates the US Department of Agriculture’s announcement of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a program which will help the nearly 50 million Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to purchase healthy, locally and regionally grown fruits and vegetables. The new federal program will make available $31.5 million this year towards healthy food nutrition incentives, a significant stride taken by the government to empower our nations most food insecure to make healthy food choices while also benefiting America’s classic small business owners – small and mid-sized farmers.

“We want to especially commend US Department of Agriculture leadership and staff, as well as Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), her House counterpart Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and Minority Members Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for their hard work and guidance in delivering this critical program within the 2014 Farm Bill,” says Wholesome Wave Vice President Gus Schumacher.

“The new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program represents an incredible opportunity for the millions of Americans who struggle to put healthy food on their tables, local and regional producers, as well as organizations running incentive programs. We are thrilled to see our government and the USDA placing an emphasis on making healthy produce affordable for everyone, while simultaneously supporting small and mid-sized farms,” says Wholesome Wave Founder and CEO, Michel Nischan.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, along with Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe made the announcement of the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program in Richmond, VA. Wholesome Wave works with The Farmers Market.Co, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, Market Central, Lydia’s Fields at Wheatland/Fort Meade Farmers Market, and Appalachian Sustainable Development in Virginia to build a statewide program and network of EBT and nutrition incentive programs.

Following the announcement of FINI, the Secretary also announced the awardees of over $27 million in grants to expand marketing through the new Local Food Marketing Promotion Program (LFPP) and the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). Wholesome Wave was awarded a Local Food Promotion Program grant to pilot a new enterprise that will network local food hubs across New England to fulfill large volume orders of local fruits and vegetables for institutions such as hospitals.

Since 2007, Wholesome Wave has worked with the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) network of partners to implement nutrition incentive programs at farmers markets across the country. What started in three states has since grown to include a DVCP network of more than 60 partners operating incentive programs in 24 states and Washington D.C., at more than 350 farmers markets. The program allows low-income shoppers to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, while driving additional revenue to farmers. Through collaborations with incentive program operators across the country, including key allies Ecology Center, Fair Food Network, and Roots of Change, Wholesome Wave has demonstrated the impact of these programs and advocated for federal support.

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Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system for everyone. By making fresh, locally and regionally grown foods more affordable and accessible, we enable underserved community members to make healthier food choices. With programs in 25 states and DC, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms and bolstering local and regional economies. To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.

8/14/14 - Wholesome Wave Launches 16 day, 400-mile Solo Bicycle Campaign, Farm to Table Cycle: A Journey for Change

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(Bridgeport, CT – August 14, 2014) Wholesome Wave, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit, announced the launch of Farm to Table Cycle: A Journey for Change, a 400-mile solo bicycle and photography grassroots campaign designed to raise awareness about local food systems. The campaign will showcase the many critical building blocks that make up a thriving food system from the unique perspectives of community members throughout New England. It will focus on issues that touch our food system daily, including food security, farming and sustainability, food waste, dairy and livestock production, farm-to-table chefs, local food processing and infrastructure, school meals, and institutional food purchasing.

The 16-day cycling journey will launch from McLevy Green in Bridgeport, CT on September 11, 2014 with adventure traveler and world-class photographer Glenn Charles leading the way. Charles will make nearly three dozen visits to farms, farmers markets, fisheries, schools, food pantries, retail outlets, and restaurants as he winds his way north. After navigating through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, he will complete the ride in Portland, ME at the Deering Park Farmers Market on Saturday, September 27.

“What you will see is that ‘farm-to-table’ is the way of the future. New England is home to four million acres of farmland and a growing number of small and mid-sized farms. Farm to Table Cycle will unveil the many facets of our country’s food system. It will share with you the story of so many Americans who work diligently and tirelessly to shape our food system into one that is more equitable, more sustainable and more delicious,” said Wholesome Wave CEO, Michel Nischan.

“Photography has always been a powerful tool for creating awareness and telling a story. Human powered adventure travel opens doors and removes the natural barriers that exist between strangers. By combining the two, we are able to authentically and organically tell a story about our food system from the perspective of so many different community members,” says Charles.

Wholesome Wave invites individuals around the country to take part on this journey by visitingwww.farmtotablecycle.com or following along at FacebookTwitter or Instagram. For information on events open to the public, email us at communications@legacy.wholesomewave.org or call 203.226.1112.

Farm to Table Cycle is the only regional solo cycling campaign of its kind. All funds raised will support Wholesome Wave’s work to help make fresh, healthy food affordable and available to everyone.  This trip is sponsored by Naked Juice, Organic Valley, Shearwater Coffee, Whole Foods, Cohill’s Inn, Farm Star Living, Newman’s Own Organics, and CowPots.  Visit www.farmtotablecycle.com to donate today.

About Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system for everyone. By making fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, Wholesome Wave enables low-income community members to make healthier food choices.  With programs in 25 states and DC, Wholesome Wave’s innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies. To learn more, visit www.wholesomewave.org.

About Glenn Charles

Glenn is a seasoned adventure traveler and world-class photographer. Since 2009, he has traveled more than 10,000 miles by human powered transportation, including sea kayaking the Inside Passage of Alaska and the Atlantic Ocean from FL to ME, Cycling the southern and western perimeter of the US, biking Alaska, Morocco, the Yukatan, and others. Glenn pairs his travels with stories, sharing his adventures via beautiful imagery. To learn more, visit www.glenncharles.pro.

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