Working with partners from many different sectors to welcome SNAP-eligible families to the Farmers’ Market. Children and adult participants will develop healthy habits through fun social activities like healthy cooking demonstrations, art projects, reading, and quality time at the Market.
The Healthy Together Program conducts unique neighborhood outreach to families in walk-to-town neighborhoods in order to increase the numbers of families using their EBT cards at the Public Market through the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP). In one neighborhood adjoining the downtown core, more than 600 households use SNAP, which is approximately 4 of every 10 households in that area (Census Tract 1.03).
At the core of the Healthy Together Program is strengthening families (parents, children, grandparents) by bringing family members together to learn about nutrition and healthy cooking methods. Professionals – a nutritionist and chef instructor – guide families, both in Spanish and English, with handouts, art activities, and cooking classes to build healthy habits while at the Market and between visits.
Read about the launch of Healthy Together in the February-March 2020 edition of NextGen Magazine.
At a “Healthy Together” event at Bradenton Village, nutrition educators connected with 12 adults and 11 kids, most of whom (97%) were SNAP-eligible. Of those who took the time to fill out a survey after the event, 50% had never been to the Farmers’ Market and 100% said the experience motivated them to cook healthy, together.
What makes the Healthy Together Program distinctive is the focus on the family-strengthening activities of learning, shopping, and cooking together. The 2-generation (and sometimes 3-generation) learning that happens with Healthy Together increases the likelihood of these new healthy habits “sticking” with the family for the long term.
Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number one public health threat to Florida’s future is unhealthy weight. In Manatee County, more than 30% of children are considered overweight or obese, and by the time they graduate high school, 6 out of 10 children will be obese. In addition to the personal costs of unhealthy weight (stress, illness etc.), the overall cost of care for chronic diseases associated with obesity are estimated to exceed $30 billion in the next 17 years.
A recent 10-year study by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health found that learning how to cook as a young person leads to better eating practices and better health later in life. A continuing epidemic of obesity affecting nearly 20% of children and 50% of adults has led food advocates to stress that education is essential to help families eat healthier.
(Source: Civil Eats “Teaching Kids to Cook Can Make Them Healthier Later in Life“)
Investment from the multiple donors has allowed Realize Bradenton to do this extensive Market outreach in neighborhoods closest to downtown.