Presentation on theme: "RESULTS BACKGROUND Vermont is one of the nation’s leaders in the local food movement, valuing the positive impact of fresh organic food on the health of."— Presentation transcript:
RESULTS BACKGROUND Vermont is one of the nation’s leaders in the local food movement, valuing the positive impact of fresh organic food on the health of all age groups. This is apparent in its wealth of farmer’s markets, Community Shared Agriculture, farm stands, and organic produce in super markets. While many Vermonters utilize these resources, there are barriers for certain populations to access of local food, especially among senior populations. This project focused on the senior population in Chittenden County, using PACE Vermont, a program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, as an intermediary. Our project sought to: a) gather information about the current level of access to local food among seniors at PACE, b) determine some of the perceived barriers to accessing and purchasing local foods for this population, and c) increase access to local foods among PACE seniors through education, outreach, and connection to local food providers. METHODS DISCUSSION Many of the participants surveyed were native Vermonters and highly valued local food but had significant trouble obtaining it. Our findings of the barriers to access for local food replicated those of the Farm to Plate research. Specifically, that the majority of PACE participants surveyed identified financial and educational (i.e. awareness, stigma) challenges regarding obtaining local food. Additionally, we discovered transportation and physical navigation as barriers unique to the elderly population. These newly identified barriers are further heightened by the rural location of local food sources specific to Vermont. CONCLUSIONS Though Vermont is the national leader in the local food movement, elders’ have trouble accessing it due to physical, financial, and educational barriers. More can be done on an individual and community level to increase Vermont elders’ access to local food. FUTURE DIRECTIONS Educate seniors and their families about availability of local foods. Maintain contact with NOFA, Digger’s Mirth, and CVAA. Broaden the target population to include Chittenden County elders not participating in the PACE program. Educate Farmers’ Market stakeholders regarding the physical barriers unique to elders and collaborate to overcome them. Compile an exhaustive list of local food sources in Chittenden County. Share project findings with Farm to Plate and initiate dialogue regarding Linking Elders with Local Food for Better Health projects in years to come. This program is funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Table 1. Baseline Characteristics Linking Elders with Local Foods for Better Health Caitlin Dempsey MSW, Alixandra West MSW, Heather Lutton MS II, Charlotte Reback MD University of Vermont, Burlington VT 2011 VT SEARCH Scholars Project CharacteristicN=12 Median age, years (range)78 (67-91) Female sex58% Raised in Vermont58% Major Health Concerns Arthritis8% Diabetes/ Pre-diabetes50% History of stroke33% Wheelchair/limited mobility75% MeasurementPercent of Surveyed Participants (N=12) Frequency of Local Food Consumption Daily8% Once a Week50% Once a Month17% Unsure25% Perceived Barriers to Local Food Consumption Transportation issues92% Expense50% Lack of knowledge about local produce8% Limitations caused by physical handicap58% None/No interest17% Prior to commencement of the project, an informational presentation regarding the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, which focuses on promoting the local food movement was attended to become familiar with the barriers to access to local food. Financial and educational barriers were found to be most significant. Surveys were created to inquire about PACE participants’ perceived barriers as well as gain information about the participants’ background and their knowledge of, interest in, and average consumption of local food. In response to finding that the most significant barriers to access to local food (in order of significance) were physical, financial, and educational in nature, community connections with relevant agencies were made: Physical: Digger’s Mirth, a mobile farmers’ market, was contacted regarding using PACE as a potential location for their mobile farmers’ market. Financial: Hunger Free Vermont and The Champlain Valley Agency on Aging (CVAA) were contacted to gain insight into how 3SquaresVT can alleviate the financial barriers to access of local food. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA VT) was also contacted regarding the potential for PACE as a pilot site for a grant funded subsidized local food program for elders. Educational: Champlain Valley Agency on Aging Nutrition Director, who supplies food to PACE via the Burlington School food system was contacted. Information about the PACE menu was gathered to evaluate the current level of access to local foods that seniors experience through PACE. As a method of education and outreach, four weekly student-organized activities were carried out: 1) Cooking salsa with local vegetables, 2) “Healthify” your favorite recipes with local foods, 3) Individualized cooking for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and 4) “How 3SquaresVT can help you eat local”. These activities were designed to increase awareness of and interest in local foods, and knowledge about how they can be incorporated into any diet. Table 2. Local Food Data Sam Mazza’s Farm Stand in Colchester, VTParticipants purchase local produce PACE participants identify local ingredients in healthy recipes United States Department of Agriculture, 2007 Census of Agriculture, Table 2, Vermont Council on Rural Development. Vermont Working Landscape Partnership Action Plan, December Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. Montpelier: n.p., Print.