Wholesome Wave’s innovative and successful programs have captured international attention. Designed to promote strong links between underserved communities and farmers in an effort to improve public health and strengthen local food infrastructure, the Wholesome Wave approach is resonating within a number of European countries. Wholesome Wave’s CEO and president, Michel Nischan, was invited to present at an international food policy conference, lead by the Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in France last month to discuss new approaches and techniques to improve our food system.
The primary focus of the OECD Food Chain Analysis Network’s third meeting was to discuss the importance in understanding the intersection of Agriculture and Health policy, and how a combination of coordinated practice and policy efforts might effectively address the growing burden of chronic diet-preventable diseases in countries at all levels of income. Nischan took part in a prestigious panel of international food policy experts including: Linda Fulponi, Senior Economist of the Trade and Agriculture Directorate for the OECD; Robert Pederson, Manager, European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium; Josef Schmidhuber, senior economist and Deputy Director of the Statistics Division of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Corrado Finardi, Economist for Coldiretti, Italy’s largest food-producing association; and Anne Haikonen, Ministerial Counselor of Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
When asked to address innovative ways agriculture can help improve public health through better nutrition, Nischan discussed the successes of Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Programs. Nischan said, “With the world now fully understanding that ‘we are what we eat,’ it is clear that health and agriculture policies cannot remain separate. Together, the health and agriculture communities can either positively affect human, economic and environmental health; or they can bankrupt all three.”
As Nischan plans to continue open dialogue with the OECD community in hopes of sharing and finding new ways to empower food insecure communities as well as small and midsize farmers around the world, Wholesome Wave’s cofounder and Executive Vice President, Gus Schumacher, is heading to the United Kingdom later this month, to address the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government. Leaders there are also interested in finding new ways to improve public health by linking underserved communities to small and midsize farmers.