THE GROCERYSHIPS STRATEGY
The Groceryships strategy is to temporarily provide families with money to buy whole, plant-foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts & seeds), and enroll them in a comprehensive program of nutrition, cooking, and shopping education to help them increase consumption of those whole, plant-foods. In short, food (whole, plant-food) is medicine, and we want to help people eat more of it.
Our six month program consists of weekly 2 hour meetings. In the first hour our families learn the cooking, nutrition, and shopping skills necessary to increase the amounts of whole, plant-foods they eat. They learn how to prepare vegetables, make fruit shakes, add fruit/vegetables into other foods, and otherwise prepare food in a healthy manner. They also learn skills on how to navigate an unhealthy food environment.
The second hour of each weekly meeting is structured as a support group, where we discuss the challenges and struggles of adopting a healthier diet in such an unhealthy environment. We discuss things like addictive foods (and the associated withdrawal symptoms), emotional eating, and family-specific belief systems around food.
During the six month program, Groceryships families will also receive:
- Medical Support - Clinic partners provide assessments, check-ups, and goal-setting.
- Resources - Recipients receive a package of tools/resources including films, food-journals, appliances and literature.
Our program is different from standard nutrition education and diets which promote things like calorie-counting, ratios of carbs vs fat, and eating unhealthy food in moderation. We focus on increasing the amount of whole, plant-foods in families diets, encouraging them to eat greater volume, and to add rather than subtract (and crowd out the unhealthy foods.
Our program is different, and can be used in conjunction with, SNAP (food stamps) which provides financial to support to struggling families, but doesn't insist the money be spent on healthful foods, or teach families how to prepare and shop for those healthy foods.