May 19, 2020
DENVER – The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) – the nonprofit chaired by Former First Lady Michelle Obama working to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity – today announced Denver as the nation’s first deployment city of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund. Working in coordination with the City of Denver and local community organizations, PHA Fresh Boxes will provide 600,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside high-impact digital nutrition resources, to Denver families over the next three months to drive better long-term health outcomes. The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund was launched by PHA on April 28 in response to the global pandemic.
“This program will not only provide immediate relief to families impacted economically by COVID-19, but it will also instill new habits for health and immunity for the long-term,” said Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America. “We have designed the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to build a bridge to sustainable, affordable retail access to fresh produce that could allow for a true culture of health.”
The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund was created in partnership with the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and is funded by an anonymous philanthropic donor, ReFED, Novo Nordisk, and individual donors throughout the country. The program links fruits and vegetables, which may have otherwise gone to waste, to communities experiencing economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the PHA Fresh Boxes, families will also receive digital resources from Zipongo to help integrate fruits and vegetables into their diets and lives for the long term.
“During a time when many of our families are most in need of support, organizations like Partnership for a Healthier America are stepping up to help provide some of the relief that will help them and our communities get through this,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We’re honored that Denver will be the first deployment of their COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, and this is proof that by coming together, we can overcome the effects of this pandemic.”
“COVID-19 has disrupted the regular flow of the food supply chain, making it difficult to get fresh, healthy food to the people who need it most and increasing the amount of food insecurity,” said Alexandria Coari, Capital and Innovation Director at ReFED, a national nonprofit working to advance solutions to reduce the amount of food waste. “The work of organizations like Partnership for a Healthier America is urgent, and we’re excited to get them the critical support they need from the ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund.”
Starting today and for each of the next 12 weeks, Denver will receive PHA Fresh Boxes of produce ready to be delivered to families. PHA is partnering with FreshPoint, a local produce distributor, to procure produce, pack, and deliver the boxes. Local organizations will assist in the distribution of the Denver Fresh Boxes, adhering to all local, state, and federal regulations around food and COVID-19 safety. In Denver, the Montbello Organizing Committee, The Co-Op at First, Open Door Ministries, and Denver Housing Authority will be the primary distributors.
Zipongo will be providing every PHA Fresh Box recipient with complimentary access to its digital platform called Foodsmart, a comprehensive tool designed to make healthy eating easy. Benefits include: nutrition assessment with personalized insights, personalized recipes that incorporate the fresh food provided in boxes, and discounts on other grocery items available nearby.
The PHA Fresh Boxes are built to offer balanced nutrition, variety, and seasonal flavors to a family of four for approximately one week. The goal is for the boxes, which will be between 20 and 25 pounds, to provide two to three servings of produce per person each day, with a 60-40 ratio of vegetables to fruits. Based on availability and seasonality, local and regional growers will be used to the greatest extent possible.
A sample box will include:
“The pandemic has added additional stress and uncertainty to those families and communities in need, especially as they wonder where their next meal will come from. The PHA Fresh Boxes will provide relief and sustenance by delivering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with recipes and education, so that consumers can fill their plates with healthful and nutritious food,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “PMA’s vision is to grow a healthier world and that includes making sure all consumers everywhere understand the Joy of Fresh and the role produce can play in enhancing their lives, bodies, and minds.”
In the weeks ahead, PHA plans on launching additional deployments of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund in other U.S. cities to scale the impact of the program and build on the success in Denver.
About Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)
PHA’s mission is to leverage the power of the private sector to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA identifies, accelerates, and celebrates voluntary business practices that improve or increase choice or lead to new norms and behavior around food and physical activity. For more information about PHA, please visit www.ahealthieramerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
ReFED is a national nonprofit with a holistic view of the food system, working to advance solutions to reduce food waste. Since its inception in 2015, ReFED has served as a trusted source for data and insights, a connector of stakeholders across the food system, and a catalyst for innovation and economic opportunity. ReFED’s goal is a thriving food system optimized to maximize resource use, minimize climate impacts, and enhance food security — including a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Learn more about the impact of food waste and ReFED’s work www.refed.com.
About Produce Marketing Association
Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit www.pma.com.