3 Steps to Health Toolkits Selected for National SNAP-Ed Website!
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Steps to Health is getting some acknowledgement and exposure on the national level! Every year, the National SNAP-Ed team collects submissions from implementing programs from around the country. The materials go under expert review and are scored and selected based on their effectiveness. After review, the experts chose three Steps to Health PSE toolkits to add to their national SNAP-Ed Toolkit website! The resources they chose are:
- The Ingredients for a Welcoming Farmers’ Market
- The Nuts and Bolts of a Healthy Food Pantry
- Communities Moving Together — A Guide for Facilitating Community-Led Walk Audits
Our PSE Initiatives continue to blossom and evolve everyday. From stipends for community gardens, to floor decals for elementary schools, to supplemental events around the state, we are continuously putting our efforts into creating healthier communities in North Carolina. Our PSE Toolkits include resources like Baseline & Follow-up Assessments, Promotional Materials, Action Planning Tools and more. We support NC State Extension professionals in efforts to create policies, systems, and environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice in locations that serve low-income families and individuals.
The Ingredients for a Welcoming Farmers’ Market Toolkit was one of the first resources to be chosen by the nationwide SNAP-Ed committee. Steps to Health is a big advocate for shopping at farmers’ markets. By shopping at your local farmers’ market, you can not only find fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can also support your local farms and even double your SNAP benefits at certain locations! This initiative can create connections within communities and ultimately strengthen local food systems in counties around the state.
The Farmers’ Market Toolkit starts by having the extension professional interview the manager of the market. They must build on already established connections or network and create new connections in their communities. After this step, the extension professional must observe and assess the farmers’ market in order to understand the ongoing practices. After they establish and understand how the market works, the extension professional must share resources to enhance the market they are working with. This section will cover everything from demographics to fruit and vegetable variety. Over time, the Agent is asked to return to the farmers’ market to assist with any changes made by the market’s manager.
The second Steps to Health PSE toolkit to be chosen by the nationwide SNAP-Ed committee was the The Nuts and Bolts of a Healthy Food Pantry Toolkit. This resource is designed to provide food pantries with resources and practices that ensure they distribute food to those in need, and improve the health of their clients in the process. SNAP Beneficiaries that attend Food Pantries can find fresh fruits, vegetables, non-perishables and more! Food Pantries, also called Food Banks, help in addressing community health disparities through the foods and related services that they provide.
First, the Agent is required to analyze the client choice and distribution models, in order to assess the type of experience the consumer has while they are visiting the food pantry. Next, the Agent works with the food pantry staff to procure healthy food products and create an efficient way to refrigerate and store the items they procure. The next steps require the Agent to work on “nudges” and nutrition education, where they provide ways to advertise the healthy food items they offer, while having detailed information on hand about the foods that are available to the patrons. Lastly, the Agent must engage with the food pantry staff and volunteers to create a sustainable healthy atmosphere. All of these steps have exercises, examples, and more to help an Agent that is working to make food pantries in their counties more healthy and accessible for consumers.
The third Toolkit chose by the committee was the Communities Moving Together Toolkit. This resource is dedicated to training organizations on how to assess their community walkways and make them safer and more accessible for physical activity. By focusing on places where people live, work, learn, pray, and play, the guide helps communities jump start projects that can make their neighborhoods promoters of physical activity for years to come.