In our first year, we seek to set up the beta site as a model for the program. This site and future sites will seek a setting with at least 5,000 potential members, whether in a housing community or a community institution that can reach that number in the neighborhood. Membership is not based on a dues or fees structure, in which a member pays just to belong to the club, but rather is defined as receiving at least $20 worth of product a month ($5/week), whether through use of EBT (food stamps), other food expenditure money, or matching funds.
The minimum viable membership number could be as low as 50 individuals ($1,000 per monthly distribution of product); however, our aim will be to have sites/neighborhoods with 250 households (average four people per household) as members. Annual gross of $240,000 would sustain a coordinator and achieve more efficiency of purchase and distribution.
A complete manual and training protocol will be developed to facilitate replication in communities statewide and we will be looking to initiate at least ten other regional fresher food club programs statewide by 2018. Our efforts will focus on:
- Expanding access to healthy, safe fresh produce Neighborhood institutions such as community centers, congregations and other types of clubs can host fresher eating clubs and become distribution outlets for fruits, nuts, veggies and value-added items to increase dramatically points of access.
- Improving nutritional awareness of children and adults Regular cooking demonstrations by chefs and culinary arts interns will increase knowledge of nutrition and consciousness of the importance and ease of healthful eating choices among community residents young and old.
- Increasing consumption Enabling often exhausted parents and individuals to pick up ready-made nutritious meals prepared primarily with California specialty crops to serve to their families and themselves will increase intake.
- Enhancing utilization of fresh produce With or without a local main food aggregation hub, creating a bulk-buying program also means increased efficiencies in distribution, making it more cost- effective for a small farmer with guaranteed sales to deliver cases of goods that can then be redistributed throughout the area.
- Encouraging and expanding availability of affordable and locally-grown crops As clubs expand, other local institutions may be influenced to order more of their produce through the same channels, thus bringing additional sales to growers.
- Reducing food insecurity and stress, especially for parents By enabling the community to feed families, we will work toward the goal of ensuring everyone goes to bed well-fed. In focus groups with community residents, the parents have already seen the advantage of having more time and less stress in terms of improving their relationships with their children.