Working Together to Create Sustainable Food Systems for Underserved Communities

Partnership Between GW & Wholesome Wave Expands Research in Areas of Food, Nutrition and Food Policy

Article ID: 619361

Released: 16-Jun-2014 6:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: George Washington University

  • Credit: photo courtesy of GW

Newswise — The George Washington University and Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit focused on creating sustainable, equitable food systems, announced today a partnership to conduct research in the areas of food, nutrition and food policy. While Wholesome Wave has partnerships with hospitals and community health centers, this is its first academic partnership.

Utilizing the resources of the university’s Urban Food Task Force, Milken Institute School of Public Health, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the Rodham Institute, the goal is to advance research in nutrition policy, healthcare costs and food systems through the analysis and evaluation of shared data between the two organizations and to seek opportunities to advance knowledge through research and education as food and nutrition.

“The GW Wholesome Wave collaboration aligns our interests for mutually beneficial results that are sorely needed in nutrition policy, food systems research and food policy. This partnership has many areas for collaboration and interest that should result in favorable outcomes to under-served communities,” said Tom Russo, assistant vice president for industry research at GW.

With events like its annual Apple Day, in which teachers give apples to students, and the Eye on Food film series, GW has been expanding and communicating knowledge of healthy foods, cooking classes, on-campus food choices, composting, edible landscaping and sustainable eating. The partnership with Wholesome Wave helps facilitates learning opportunities for GW students and expands the outreach into the community to places where Wholesome Wave currently runs two of their signature programs – the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program® (FVRx®).

Wholesome Wave is dedicated to making healthy, locally and regionally grown food affordable and accessible for everyone, regardless of income. Their Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program® (FVRx®) greatly enhance the purchasing power of low-income families at farmer’s markets to ensure they are able to afford fresh fruits and vegetables. These programs increase fruit and vegetable consumption, enhance the health of low-income adults and children suffering from diet-related diseases, and improve local economies.

“Wholesome Wave is thrilled to partner with the George Washington University on this groundbreaking relationship. Working with GW will build on the success of our current programs in Washington, D.C. by achieving greater impact in the local community, as well as educating and engaging with a new generation of students and clinicians. The results will undoubtedly be far-reaching, It is our hope that this partnership will result in a model that can be replicated in academia throughout the country,” said Wholesome Wave CEO and Founder Michel Nischan.

Wholesome Wave has programs in 25 states with more than 3,500 participating farmers and more than 70 community-based program partners. They launched their programs in Washington, D.C., in 2009, and currently work with four D.C. partners to administer the Double Value Coupon Program and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. Local partners include, Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, DC Greens, Ward 8 Farmers Market, and Unity Health Care.

“The interest across campus as it relates to food has never been greater. This collaboration with such an innovative organization, boosts our efforts,” said Dawnita Altieri, manager of strategic alliances and communications director for GW’s Food Initiatives, working with Diane Knapp, chair of GW’s Urban Food Task Force.

The partnership will also allow for faculty and students to engage in research to promote greater visibility, and influence decision makers on the importance of increasing access to sustainable food for underserved communities.

The George Washington UniversityIn the heart of the nation's capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.

Wholesome WaveWholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system for all. By making fresh, locally grown foods affordable and accessible, they enable underserved community members to make healthier food choices. Our innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income populations, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farms and bolstering local and regional economies.


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