Vouchers 4 Veggies – EatSF is fixing the “dietary divide” and helping thousands of low-income individuals and families access nutritious food critical for well-being.
V4V participants are increasing their daily fruit and vegetable intake by one serving. This is significant. Increasing F&V consumption by just one serving per day reduces the risk of premature death by 10 percent and could also save the country $5 billion in medical costs a year (Oyebode et al. Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, 2014).
After 6 months in the program, 95 percent of respondents report they could buy fruits and vegetables they could not previously afford, 98 percent were more confident in their ability to make healthy food choices on a budget, 95 percent had increase knowledge of the importance of F&Vs, and 91 percent ate less unhealthy food.
Food Security & Better Health
Vouchers 4 Veggies helps ensure that more people are food secure, which the USDA defines as access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. 39 percent of survey respondents reported increased food security while enrolled in the program, more than a quarter were able to stretch their monthly food budget
Improved nutrition and food security also made people feel better. Participants described positive health outcomes including weight loss, a decreased need for prescription medications, and more energy.
Since 2015, $2.7 million in fruit and vegetable purchases have been infused into communities, directly benefiting local grocers and farmers’ markets.
Store owners are seeing increased monthly profits and new customers. They are restocking produce more often and experiencing less food waste.
100% of partnering community-based organizations see V4V as a vital resource for their clients.
94% of clients see V4V as important not just for them, but for their entire community.
V4V saves public dollars and benefits communities.
People living in low-income communities are often hospitalized for hypertension, heart failure and diabetes much more frequently than people in other neighborhoods and are 27% more likely to go to the hospital for low blood sugar during the 4th week of the month. This is the time when money runs out for food.
One hospital visit for a diabetic with low blood sugar costs $1,387, but it costs only $450 to supply an individual or family fruit and vegetable vouchers for a full year.
Individuals who are at risk for diseases affected by diet, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, can prevent health problems through nutrition and moderate exercise. V4V helps low-income individuals and families buy the fresh produce they need to be healthier and thus spend less of their money on sickness.
This works for the community as well: more money spent on preventive care saves in long-term health care costs.
“The Vouchers 4 Veggies – EatSF program is a win-win. It helps low-income San Francisco residents afford healthy produce, which improves health. It also helps address food deserts by supporting the ability of food vendors to stock healthy produce.”
– Dr. Tomás Aragón, San Francisco Department of Public Health