20% of Oregonians are Food Insecure
Meaning they lack reliable access to healthy food
Over 40,000 are food insecure in Central Oregon
And may be half as likely to eat fruits and vegetables
Food insecurity is a risk factor for poor health
People are 2x as likely to develop diabetes and heart disease
We believe everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food
To live a healthy lifestyle and achieve personal success
Food Access and Nutrition
In 2010, our Central Oregon Food Needs Assessment revealed a desire by residents to access more healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as prioritizing both price and health/nutrition when making food choices. To meet these needs, HDFFA implemented a fresh food donation program and is the sponsor of Cooking Matters, a free 6-week cooking classes for underserved residents.
Still, 1 of 5 residents is food insecure (hungry) and doesn’t know where their next meal will come from, and the rates of chronic diseases associated with diet continue to rise. One way to overcome this issue is to provide and expand nutritional programs, like Cooking Matters. Programs like these are educational and are ways to promote a healthy diet and teach the link between a person’s diet and their health.
Nutrition Program Report
In 2017, HDFFA partnered with Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to assess the current state of Nutritional Programs in Central Oregon. The goal was to improve food security in Central Oregon by determining: 1) what is important to residents in how they improve their own health, 2) how they access programs and information, 3) how health care practitioners provide the information and, 4) the barriers to accessing or providing these programs.
Findings and Recommendations
- 75% of people would benefit from better nutrition and education, but only 14% were referred to a nutritional program. Recommendation: Create a comprehensive nutritional program resource to improve access to information and availability.
- Generally, people don’t make a connection between their own health and their diet. Recommendation: Conduct a “food as medicine” campaign to educate the public about eating a fresh food diet coupled with a nutrition program.
- Those most at risk for diet-related diseases (because of low fresh food consumption) aren’t referred to nutrition education programs. Recommendation: health care practitioners could identify individuals who are food insecure and/or have a diagnosis of (pre)diabetes and cardiovascular disease and automatically refer those patients to nutrition education programs.
- Fresh food is too expensive but is critical to nutritional programs. Recommendation: Veggie Rx program for low-income residents in conjunction with nutrition education and coaching by a health care practitioners.
Making a Difference
HDFFA will continue working with the health care community to implement some of the suggested recommendations. We recognize that change may be slow, but our goal is to:
- Better connect residents and health care practitioners with community programs that provide nutrition education programs, including our Cooking Matters program.
- Improve access to fresh food by making it more affordable through new programs such as a Veggie Rx (fresh fruit and vegetable voucher).
- Increase our and the communities’ support for those interested in choosing to be healthy by eating more fresh foods by developing and providing resources
- Continue to work with our existing farm and ranch partners to make food more available (by connecting consumers and producers through other avenues such as Community Supported Agriculture options at workplaces)
Diabetes Prevention Program
- Diabetes Prevention Program, Deschutes County Health Services