Wholesome Wave’s Impressive Impact

March 23, 2011

Find out what Michel Nischan, of Wholesome Wave, a privately funded incentive based, food assistance program has to say about food deserts.

This week the Lempert Report had the opportunity to speak with Michel Nischan, CE0, President and Founder of Wholesome Wave, a privately funded incentive based, non-profit, food assistance program that aims to impact communities on a holistic level.

The Lempert Report particularly has talked a lot about local, locale, seasonal produce and the various benefits of choosing to eat this way (especially as we enter into spring); ranging from better nutrition to supporting the local economy and environment. Understandably, this is easier said than done, especially in under-served communities and areas of lower income.

Wholesome Wave’s core program is the Double Value Coupon Program, which doubles the value of “food stamps” when used at participating farmers markets. The aim is to improve nutritional choices and the effectiveness of federal food assistance. Food stamp redemption is at an all time high; helping to feed one in eight Americans and one in four children, according to the USDA and the Census Bureau.

Through the Double Value Coupon Program, Wholesome Wave supports local and sustainable farming methods- which increase environmental well being, provide affordable local fresh fruits and vegetables to families- which in turn decreases health care costs, as well as provides true economic stimulus- dollars spent locally, that re-multiply within the community.

In a survey conducted in Boston by Gina Kim, Bill Emerson Congressional Hunger Fellow, 87 percent of SNAP participants, reported consuming more fresh produce because of the Double Value Coupon Program, Bounty Bucks. Eighty four percent said Bounty Bucks was a Very Important /Important factor in facilitating their purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables. Clearly Wholesome Wave is a catalyst for improving communities; the inevitable and wonderful outcome means that under-served communities will have played a significant role in making a local, sustainable food system a reality.

Founded by Michel Nischan, an award-winning Chef committed to healthier, organic, and sustainable food, Gus Schumacher, former Under Secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services at the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Michael Batterberry, founder and editor-in-chief of Food Arts magazine, Wholesome Wave has made a measurable impact in various under-served communities. To find out more about the Wholesome Wave Foundation, how you can help and participating locations, visit http://wholesomewave.org/.

To hear Michel and Phil talk more about the issue of food deserts, how to get underserved communities to eat more fruits and veggies, and more, visit Food News Today.