Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Institute for Family Health Stevenson Center Expands Neighborhood Healthy Food Options with Fresh Food Box Program

This post was written by Bronx Health REACH intern Hillary Ramirez.

The Fresh Food Box site at the Stevenson Family Health Center has attracted more customers since it opened in July. Every Tuesday the Fresh Food Box tent is set up on the sidewalk in front of Stevenson Family Health Center, and is open to all community members. No affiliation with the clinic is required to join. Located in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx; the Stevenson Family Health Center is surrounded by residential buildings with few food purchasing options and little access to fresh vegetables. The Soundview community also has the third lowest daily vegetable and fruit consumption rate in the city.  To help remedy this situation Bronx Health REACH has partnered with GrowNYC and the Stevenson Family Health Center to try and meet  the need for more fresh produce in the area. The goal of GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box (FFB)  is to provide more fresh vegetables and fruits to communities that do not have them or have too little of them.

Stevenson staff is excited to participate in the Fresh Food Box program, and are optimistic about the health benefits these fruits and vegetables will provide for patients. One clinic employee stated that patients simply don’t have enough healthy food options, and when they are told to adopt a healthier diet, the resources required for patients to follow that advice are either not convenient or affordable.

A young boy helps his mother select produce at the Fresh Food Box.

The Fresh Food Box program addresses that by bringing in  fresh produce at a very affordable price. A bag of 6-8 fresh, in-season vegetables and one fruit is only $14.  And while $14 for a bag of 6-8 vegetables and a fruit is the best deal in town, the program’s mission would not be complete without actively promoting and accepting EBT/SNAP, in addition to cash and credit cards. Similar to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)  program Fresh Food Box participants pay for their bag a week in advance, returning the following week to pick up their produce. To help participants with vegetables they may not be very familiar with, Fresh Food Box also includes a set of recipes to try at home.

Display of a Fresh Food Box share containing leaks, blackberries, lettuce, summer squash, golden plums, corn, cilantro and basil. 

With nearly 30 sign ups on the opening day, many community members were excited after receiving their bag full of vegetables, while others looked forward to trying the Fresh Food Box for the very first time. Some participants of the program brought along their children, allowing them to pick out the produce, using the Fresh Food Box program as an opportunity to teach their kids about healthy eating. The Stevenson Fresh Food Box runs until November 14th.

To learn more about the Stevenson FFB, call 212-633-0800 or email Michelle Hernandez.

Click here to learn more about GrowNYC Fresh Food Box Program.

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