263717 Getting fresh local produce to kids and seniors: Exceeding expectations with the Farm-to-Table Partnership in King County, WA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Maria Langlais , Seattle King County Area Agency on Aging, City of Seattle, Seattle, WA
Adrienne Dorf, MPH, RD, CD , Prevention Division, Public Health- Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
Laurie Ringaert, BSc, BMR-OT, MSc , Prevention Division, Public Health Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
Kirsten Wysen, MHSA , Director's Office, Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA
Natalie Thomson , Youth and Family Empowerment Division, City of Seattle, Human Services Department, Seattle, WA
INTRODUCTION: City-sponsored senior meal and child care programs offer well-targeted opportunities to improve equitable access to local healthy food across the lifespan, while providing financial benefit to local agriculture. In King County, 80% of senior meal participants have very low incomes and over 30% are people of color; 87% of subsidized child care participants are low-income children of color.

METHODS: Public Health-Seattle & King County contracted with Seattle's Human Services Division to increase the use of fresh produce in various meal programs. The city subcontracted with an online broker that linked local farms and buyers and the Washington State Department of Agriculture for technical assistance. King County Housing Authority and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe also participated. From July 2010 to March 2012, project and health department staff used a quality improvement process with several pilot tests to develop innovative business models to increase the purchase of fresh local produce.

RESULTS: 21 sustainable farm-to-meal program purchasing relationships were created. 50 senior meal sites and 30 child care programs participated. 3,733 pounds of produce were purchased and served in over 8,000 meals. The senior meal programs that cook from scratch increased from 33% to 58%. Some child care centers served as farm box delivery sites for families. We will describe progress and obstacles in implementing robust systems for purchasing local produce.

DISCUSSION: A developmental evaluation approach provided simple quality improvement tools to the team which rapidly tried, discarded and honed in on successful direct farm purchasing protocols.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify how a local health department can provide value to the food purchasing processes of child care and senior meal programs; 2. Describe successful models for purchasing local and affordable produce; and 3. Identify potential barriers to institutional purchasing of local produce.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Maria Langlais is a planner with the Seattle-King County Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Aging & Disability Services, and has over 20 years of experience in the aging network implementing programs to promote healthy aging and working to improve systems to better meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. She was recently the project lead for the Farm to Table Partnership.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.