Building a Vibrant Food System and Bolstering Local Economies

From by Clare Algozin
Building a Vibrant Food System and Bolstering Local Economies

Wholesome Wave strives to build a just, vibrant, and sustainable food system. Through their work they inspire underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing access to affordable, fresh, local and regional food.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Ashley Gaudino, Senior Manager of Communications and Public Outreach for Wholesome Wave.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Ashley Gaudino (AG): Our innovative initiatives work to improve health outcomes among low-income families, generate additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses, and bolster local and regional economies.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

AG: Our National Nutrition Incentive Network and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program have seen tremendous results, including increasing participants’ consumption of fruits and vegetables. After just seven years, we saw policy change at the federal level by way of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant, which provides US$100 million of funding over five years to support nutrition incentive programs that increase the fruit and vegetable purchases of SNAP consumers. Wholesome Wave received a US$3.77 million grant from the USDA through FINI to expand our National Nutrition Incentive Network, thereby supporting more SNAP consumers, farmers, and local communities across the country.

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

AG: Our goals for 2015 and beyond are to continue to make healthy, fresh foods more affordable and accessible for low-income consumers.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

AG: Focus on their purchasing choices: The more we shift our collective buying power towards locally and regionally grown food, the more our local economies benefit, our neighborhood farmers prosper, and our citizens have the opportunity to become happier and healthier.

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

AG: The best way to get involved with Wholesome Wave is to learn about our work and the issues we focus on, and then spread the word. You can learn more on our website, through email updates, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Download the 2015 Good Food Org Guide HERE.

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