There are many organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental, that are doing exceptional work to improve the nutritional health of our desert communities. Each organization has a specific set of skills and resources but often times they only address one or a few facets of the much bigger wellness puzzle. Sun Produce Cooperative (SPC) has, over the last several years, developed a network of connections with a variety of top shelf organizations that are dedicated to addressing the nutritional deficits found in our valley and state.
Many of the activities of the organizations SPC works with have focused on low-income and nutritionally at-risk communities, particularly those families or individuals that are SNAP beneficiaries. More specifically, we work to target the young (school age children) and the old (seniors). The partners highlighted below have worked extensively with each of these groups but we all have the sense that our impact on these communities has been far from optimal. We believe that a highly focused collaboration will deliver results much greater than the sum of our individual efforts.
Maricopa County Cooperative Extension
AZ HealthZone – MCCE is part of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County. We provide education and resources, consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, to persons eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs. Our Mission is to positively influence lifestyle behaviors of Maricopa County youth, families, and adults through curriculum based education on nutrition, physical activity and gardening.
Pinnacle Prevention is an Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to growing healthy families and communities. Our mission is to inspire and advance a healthy food system and opportunities for active living. Our team of registered dietitians, researchers and social scientists believe all families should have access to healthy food and opportunities to develop healthy relationships with foods. We think all individuals should have access to healthy and safe communities to enjoy physical activity, and we work to make these visions a reality across Arizona.
Double Up Arizona
Community Supported Agriculture is a direct connection between a local farmer and their customers. By joining a CSA, you commit to supporting a local farmer for a season. In return, you receive a weekly bag or box of fresh, seasonal produce— and share in the risks and the benefits of farming. When you use SNAP to pay, you’ll get a 50% discount.
From the 1980s until present day, Nourish Phoenix (formerly ICM Food and Clothing Bank) has had a rich history in providing services for the working poor in Phoenix. We believe that no matter the situation, each individual should have hope and dignity when facing the extreme adversity that life hands us. We believe that each piece of clothing, each piece of food, each item received is one-by-one changing the world for good.
Since 1985, the mission of Unlimited Potential has been to strengthen individuals and families in south Phoenix through literacy, education and self-empowerment. Our participants are low income underserved population, predominantly Latino families who are struggling to master the English language. We offer English literacy and GED classes to adults and early childhood workshops to preschool children to prepare them for kindergarten and future academic success. We have a unique, and proven, dual language approach to literacy that encourages participants to speak, read and write their native language as well as English. We also encourage parents to read to their children in both languages. In addition to our English classes, we offer workshops on parenting (Abriendo Puertas), reading to children (Motheread/Fatheread), and nutrition (Healthy Roots).
The Mollen Foundation
In 2008, the Mollen Foundation created and launched fitness and project-based nutrition education programs in community centers and schools. While on the campus of one of their school sites in 2012, a group of passionate high school students held a protest in the school cafeteria, advocating for healthier food on campus. To end the protest, the students requested to meet with the Mollen Foundation and their collaboration began. Working together, the high school students launched a student-led healthy snack bar with demonstrations and taste tests. This project inspired a substantial number of students to question the current food system and sparked their interest to grow their own food. This was a watershed moment essential to the Mollen Foundation’s programming. Growing and cooking food became integral to our programming. When students grow, harvest, and cook their own food, they eat more vegetables, feel more connected to each other and develop an appreciation for the environment. The Mollen Foundation is committed to increasing access to fresh, affordable food and promoting healthy habits for future generations.