The Ecology Center is at the forefront of policy discussions to improve health outcomes among the nation’s most vulnerable communities. On May 29th, 2015, the Ecology Center’s Executive Director, Martin Bourque, presented as a featured speaker at The Future of SNAP? Improving Nutrition Policy to Ensure Health and Food Equity.
Hosted by the Berkeley Food Institute and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, this workshop delivered evidence and research findings on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), challenges of current approaches, and recommended actions relevant for the future of SNAP. This workshop included panels of leading researchers from UC Berkeley and other universities, representatives from NGOs in the field, staff from federal and state agencies, and practitioners.
The Ecology Center is not only working to shape health and food policy, but is also continuing to develop effective direct services that incentivize healthy food choices. Our recently expanded Market Match program is a model for partnerships between nonprofits, small farmers, and governmental social service agencies, drawing partners together for the common goal of increasing healthy food access. The program has a proven track record of success, last year empowering $2,217,876 in sales of healthy fruits and vegetables to low-income Californians, which went directly to small farmers. The Ecology Center is working to expand the program so that fresh fruits and vegetables become staples of all Californians’ diets, regardless of income, and so that more SNAP purchases stay in local communities, supporting the local food system.
For more on how Market Match works, and what impact it has, check out the report, “Making Farm-Fresh Food Affordable” here.