Once Upon a Farm, the Berkeley, California-based kid nutrition brand that makes organic, cold-pressed baby food, applesauce and smoothies, and Wholesome Wave, the leading national nonprofit working to increase affordable access to fruits and vegetables for underserved people, have launched “A Fresh Start,” a program that gives access to fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables in the homes of families in the food-insecure community of Lake Los Angeles, California.
Once Upon a Farm co-founder and Save the Children trustee Jennifer Garner is spearheading the grassroots program and believes that when children have access to fresh, nutritious food, they’re better prepared for a lifetime of health, happiness and greater contribution to the world.
“In a decade of work with Save the Children, I have met families in rural California without means for—or even access to—fresh, nutritious foods,” says Garner. “Everyone knows bodies and minds thrive on healthy, fresh foods. No family’s economic circumstance should get in the way of children—and parents—having the best possible nutrition. This program makes good on Once Upon a Farm and Wholesome Wave’s ongoing commitment to give families the opportunity to make better food choices. We are proud to be working together, helping set children up for healthier and more productive lives.”
Over the course of nine months, A Fresh Start will impact 50 Lake Los Angeles families enrolled in Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program. Early Steps works with parents before and following the birth of a child to build essential social and emotional, language, literacy and numeracy skills in their children through home visits, book exchanges, parent support groups and more. Families participating in A Fresh Start receive pre-loaded Wholesome Wave reward cards restricted to purchase only fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nutrition education materials highlighting small changes families can make to incorporate fruits and vegetables in their diet, including easy-to-make recipes.
“All children are born ready to learn. However, children living in poverty often enter school unready for success. Lack of access to healthy food is a big part of the challenge,” says Michel Nischan, co-founder, Wholesome Wave. “We are looking to address this with A Fresh Start. In partnership with Once Upon a Farm, we are combining affordable access to produce with nutrition education that encourages simple changes. We believe that this will spark increased healthy eating habits for the entire family, providing the nutrients that young minds need to develop to grow.”