Today Wholesome Wave is very proud to celebrate the release of the “Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations,” which we created in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). This guide not only acts as a practical tool for leadership and change-makers in the food access field, but its release represents a seminal moment for the movement, bringing attention to America’s service members and how the food system can better serve them.

Since our founding, Wholesome Wave has been dedicated to increasing affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables for underserved consumers in our country and this work brought us to partner with the Healthy Bases Initiative. The DoD has piloted this program to help military families who, just like many Americans, are facing the epidemic of chronic diet-related illness that stems from a broken food system and lack of affordable access to fresh produce. Over the past year, Wholesome Wave’s Steven Farley and Cristina Sandolo have collaborated with USDA and the DoD to produce the content for this guide, drawing on Wholesome Wave’s deep experience with farmers markets and their healthy food incentive programs.

This innovative toolkit will function to help facilitate mission readiness and help ensure that military personnel are not prevented from active service due to diet-related health issues. We believe that better access to fresh, local and regionally grown foods can set the stage for positive change in what food access looks like on military installations around the country. Citizens who chose to proudly serve our country should have the affordable access to proudly put good quality, locally grown food on their families’ tables.

Our Vice President, Gus Schumacher, former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA, applauds the release of this guide:

“USDA and the Department of Defense are commended for their role in producing this terrific guide, which will help provide healthy food access to our servicemen and women, and their families. The initial farmers market pilots, supported by Wholesome Wave, were funded by the Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit and the Farm Credit of the Virginias. This joint Wholesome Wave and Farm Credit work provided priceless lessons, which were integrated into the guide, and can now be drawn on by countless installations across the country. A big thanks also goes out to Newman’s Own Foundation for their early support.”

We extend our deepest gratitude to the USDA and DoD for putting the goal of healthy local food access at the top of their priority list for military families, and thank you to all those Americans who serve our country daily, with selfless and uncompromised quality and dedication.

Michel

To learn more and read the announcement from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, click here.

To view the press release from the Department of Defense, click here.

To view and download the toolkit, visit Wholesome Wave’s Publications page.