Press Release: Local Food Organization Harnesses Digital Tools to Support Low Income Families

Press Release: Local Food Organization Harnesses Digital Tools to Support Low Income Families

(SAN FRANCISCO, June 20) Leah’s Pantry, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of underserved populations through nutrition education and cooking literacy, is bringing healthy cooking into the homes of low income Californians. The project is a partnership with the San Francisco Human Services Agency and design firm Civic Actions. Funding comes from the USDA/FNS and through an evaluation grant from the Aetna Foundation.

The pilot project, EatFresh.org is a mobile-friendly cooking and healthy lifestyle website that is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Leah’s Pantry Founder and Executive Director, Adrienne Markworth says, “EatFresh was built to be a tool that can be used to enhance existing programs rather than compete with them.” Markworth says that having a digital tool for improving health outcomes can get important information in the hands of more individuals and families. “We are integrating EatFresh into nutrition education programs, worksite wellness programs, schools, places of worship, libraries in partnership with Summer Meals, County offices with eligibility workers, and health care clinics with health educators.”

The grant for this pilot is a part of the Aetna Foundation’s initiative to support the use of digital health technology among vulnerable and minority populations. While Eatfresh.org outreach and evaluation efforts target low-income Californians, the site is open and available to anyone who wants to lead a healthy life. In building this site, Leah’s Pantry prioritized user experience to make it easy for our target audience to find information that is relevant and helpful.

At its core, EatFresh.org is a culturally competent recipe database of over 400 healthy, low-cost meals. Each recipe has a toolbar where users can text ingredient lists or the entire recipe to their mobile phones, email it, save it, print it, or share with others on social media.

The project also harnesses the power of mobile technology to provide ongoing healthy lifestyle messaging with multiple topic areas, like breastfeeding, feeding children, shopping & budgeting, and chronic disease prevention.

Leah’s Pantry has also been able to include an online community for families that want to take steps to improve their lifestyle choices. They can also get their questions about healthy foods answered by a dietitian using the EatFresh website. By using location-detection technology, EatFresh also displays local county information all on one page, including farmers’ markets that accept EBT, local county initiatives, HSA locations and hours, and WIC information.

For more information on how the EatFresh.org site works go to:

EatFresh Demo Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmLwn4JDIlw

EatFresh Integration Toolkit: leahspantry.org/eatfresh-toolkit

About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET). Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $445 million in grants and sponsorships. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered 3.4 million hours since 2003. For more information, visitwww.aetnafoundation.org.