WIC Vouchers at the Farmers Market

As a part of my WIC responsibilities for ISPP dietetic rotations, another intern and I went to assist at the Morgantown Farmers market to distribute WIC vouchers to participants. The farmers’ market vouchers were mentioned to clients at WIC when I observed this past week. So, now I that I could actually see how participants come and use the vouchers, it seems much clearer to me as to how the whole process works.

Each WIC participant in each family gets a total of $20 worth of WIC vouchers to spend at vendors at the farmers’ market that accept WIC vouchers. So, for example if you’re a pregnant mother at WIC with 2 children under 5 years of age, then you would receive $60 worth of vouchers to spend. The vouchers have an expiration date of October 31st, 2013 so; this gives parents and families time to spend the vouchers as well. Each voucher packet has two $5 vouchers inside. So, each participant receives two packets.

The vendors that accept the WIC vouchers have orange posted signs that families can look for when shopping at any of the farmers’ markets. The WIC vouchers themselves are only distributed at the Morgantown Farmers’ Market on Spruce Street, the downtown location.

WIC was given $2,500 worth of vouchers this year. The amount of vouchers that they are given each year depends on their redemption rate from the previous year. So, in 2011 the Monongalia County WIC farmers’ market redemption rate was 60%. In 2012, their redemption rate was 70% when the state redemption rate was 65%. So, from the numbers I observed it seems that if a county has a redemption rate higher than the state average, they receive more vouchers than the previous year and vice versa.

When the WIC participants pick-up their vouchers at the downtown farmers’ market, they can use these vouchers at any of the farmers’ market locations in the area. Yes, the vouchers are only distributed at the Spruce Street location. But, the vouchers can be spent at any farmers’ market listed below. The participants are only given the vouchers once per summer.

The vouchers seem to be a hot commodity as well. Last week was the first week that WIC was at the Morgantown Farmers’ Market to distribute the vouchers. Out of the $2,500 that WIC started with, they issued $1,900 last week. So, today we started with $600 worth of vouchers. They weren’t all given out today but, I can definitely see how WIC participants love using these. Not only does it serve as a convenience but, it also supports the local economy. The program, in a whole, is such a great motivator for WIC participants to increase fresh fruits and vegetables into their family’s diet. The only restriction on what the participants can purchase is that the vouchers will only be accepted for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. So, families can’t purchase things like eggs, proteins, or baked goods. But again, this is great because it encourages families to eat more fruits and vegetables and maybe even try a new fruit or vegetable!

wic fm sign

wic- round right farms

wic fm listt

wic fm list

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The Summer of Institutional Food Service, Production, and Management Rotation Begins!

Well this week marked the kick off to my summer of my Institutional Food Service, Production, and Management rotation within WVU’s ISPP dietetic internship. Within this rotation, I am required to have a minimum of 240 hours of experience in a food service production system. Along with these hours, I have a set of objectives to complete as well.

Since Taziki’s Mediterranean Café has partnered with our Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), I will be doing my rotation at WVU’s downtown campus’s Mountainlair location. The rotation is also attached to a class affiliated with the College of Business and Economics at WVU as well. So, not only are there other nutrition students working alongside me this summer, but there are business students registered for this class as well.

As a part of my rotation objectives, I will complete 2 major projects:

          The Theme Meal Project

          The Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project

This rotation is broken down into 4 sections:

          Section 1: Storeroom, Safety, and Catering

          Section 2: Retail/Dining Room

          Section 3: Menu and Theme Meal Project

          Section 4: Culminating Experience: The Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project

As outlined in my syllabus for the business class attached to the rotation through Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, Graduate students are required to:

          Hold a cumulative ServSafe review session for the undergraduates enrolled in the class on July 30th.

          Develop a marketing campaign to improve breakfast sales with the undergraduates in my group. (I’m the only Graduate student in my group). This will require me speaking to the General Managers about breakfast sales in the restaurant and apply this information to my Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project.

          Develop a FOG BMP Report. This specific report is focusing on sustainability. The report will identify fats, oils, and grease best management practices for Taziki’s AND Martin’s BBQ Joint.

          Then, our last project will be split into 2 parts: the Food Systems Project: I’ll work to raise consumer awareness on the need to support local farmers and food.

o   Farmers’ Market Theme Meal

§  This will utilize the Morgantown Farmers’ Market

o   Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project

§  This will focus on the proposal to use local animal proteins that can be used at Taziki’s and Martin’s BBQ Joint

Only time will tell how my rotation progresses!

Taziki’s Named Best On-Campus Food at WVU

Here is a picture of someone standing in front of my assigned station for the week!

Here is a picture of someone standing in front of my assigned station for the week!

Southern Grocery Shopping

Southern Grocery Cart

It’s easy to throw healthy eating habits out the window when you’re away from home and your regular routine. Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD talks about ways to create a healthy winter routine while staying on a budget.

Plan ahead and stick to a list
Being prepared before you grab your grocery cart will help you avoid impulse purchases. It also gives you time to look at flyers, find sales and clip coupons. Try taking advantage of no-name products and avoiding shopping while you’re hungry.

Shop in season and avoid being wasteful
Buy in-season foods from local farmer’s markets, which is cheaper, and be resourceful with leftovers, using up excess food before it goes to waste, she says.

Consider vegetarian alternatives
If you study your grocery bill, meat products are often among the most expensive items. Consider planning meals with vegetarian alternatives like lentils, beans and soy. Check out vegetarian websites for heart- and budget-healthy meal ideas, she suggests.

Here are 5 friendly foods and the reasons you should add them to your grocery list:

  1. Fresh, seasonal fruit: A favorite snack to boost energy levels between meals if you feel a little hungry (power of carbs) and allows you to benefit from vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  1. Low-fat (1 percent) or non-fat milk: In order to maintain our bone density, we need to consume adequate dairy to receive calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein, which are all essential for bone growth and development.
  1. Whole grains: According to the Journal of Nutrition (2011), oats, barley, rice and quinoa all lower risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well contribute to body-weight management and gastrointestinal health. Try buying whole-grain pasta and remember to look for the words “whole grain” on the label.
  1. Almonds: But just a handful a day, and make them unsalted! A portion-controlled (quarter cup) serving of almonds is excellent for lowering cholesterol because of the unsaturated fats, making them a heart-healthy choice. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and are naturally high in fiber and a good source of protein!
  1. Edamame: Green soybeans, made popular in Japanese cuisine but available in grocery stores, add a nice nutritional punch. These tasty soybeans can be added as a side dish, steamed in the pod or consumed as a snack or appetizer. Nutritionally speaking, they are another heart-healthy source of protein, fiber and vitamins.

http://www.thestar.com/specialsections/snowbirds/article/1301135–fill-your-southern-grocery-cart-with-healthy-foods

http://www.dieteticdirections.com/

groc shopp