Local Roots increases access to fresh produce in area

More older adults have access to fresh affordable produce in Chautauqua County, NY! Why? Because of the partnership between SNAP-Ed NY with Office for Aging Services.

According to the National Institute of Health, over half of older adults to not consume the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings each day. There are multiple reasons for this decreased intake of fruits and vegetables. Older adults living in housing units often have limited access to transportation to grocery stores. Often times, older adults go 1-2 times per month to a grocery store. They often limit quantity of fresh produce due to it’s perishable nature as well as the bulk or family size packaging often found at the grocery stores. Additionally, farm stands and farmers markets tend to be located in the more populated regions of the county and therefore our rural older adults depend solely on monthly or bi-monthly trips to the grocery stores for their fresh produce.

Local Roots is a community supported agriculture (CSA) style program through Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services (OFAS). Office for Aging Services Local Roots program works with a local grower, Abers Acres, to procure the produce. SNAP-Ed NY Coordinator works with Jamestown Public Market, Jamestown Meals on Wheels, and Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels to transport the produce to the most vulnerable and isolated older adults in this rural county. SNAP-Ed NY also provides nutrition education on topics around using and preparing fresh produce as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake.

The program runs for 10 weeks during the summer growing season. Participants would call OFAS office to register. At registration, clients would commit to a weekly pick-up at one of 12 convenient locations with a specific time of pick-up throughout the county for the duration of the program. They were provided with cost-share guidelines based on income for each week’s CSA pack. At registration, participants were provided a reusable tote and a CHQAging card with a QR code on the back with directions to bring these two items to each weekly distribution. Participants would scan the QR code at pick-up in order to track number of CSA produce pick-ups to be billed for each month.

The local grower designed each food pack to include about $10 worth of produce in portion sizes appropriate for a single older adult. The OFAS communicated to the local grower the total number of registered participants for each week. There were 5 pop-up sites on Tuesday in the middle to northern part of the county, 5 pop-up sites on Thursdays in the southern part of the county, 1 distribution through the OFAS home-delivered meal program to individual homes, and 1 pop-up location on Saturday in the southern part of the county. Each pop-up location lasted for 30 minutes.

By making simple and healthy choices on a daily basis, you will be well on your way towards achieving optimal wellness. We know the healthy choice is not always the easiest choice, but small changes can make a big difference. Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services offers Nutrition & Wellness programs to help you in your journey toward total wellness. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS Nutrition &Wellness programs if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution. Call NY Connects at 716-453-4582 for more details and information about any of these Nutrition and Wellness programs provided by Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today