Our New Mission Video
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But we think our new mission video is worth a million words.
Or perhaps 60 million—that’s the number of Americans who struggle to put food on the table every day. While making this video, we set out to meet a few of them. The people you see here are not actors. They’re real participants in our programs, speaking from the heart about how Wholesome Wave is changing lives, one meal at a time.
Chef Michel Nischan founded Wholesome Wave on a two-part epiphany—and we open our video with the story of his realization. But in the decade since, Wholesome Wave has grown into a non-profit touching half a million people a year. On this storytelling journey we travelled from coast to coast learning how, as Michel says, fixing food can fix everything.
First stop: a family farm. This is where fruits and vegetables begin—but as Americans eat more and more processed foods, their health isn’t the only thing that declines—agricultural incomes are dropping, too. When we instead unlock purchasing power for produce, that means more things like peas and peppers on the dinner tables of people in poverty. And it means more money for farmers.
Next we meet a hairdresser who temporarily fell on hard times and used Wholesome Wave’s incentives to be able to buy things like lettuce and blueberries for her children. Now she’s back to work and off Food Stamps –but says her kids have kept an appetite for the healthy foods we helped her afford. (Yes, she’s a middle-aged white woman—like the plurality of SNAP shoppers, and the primary population our program serves.)
Next we visit a California farmers market—one of over a thousand in our national network—where the director puts it succinctly: through Wholesome Wave, families in poverty can afford healthy fruits and vegetables every week, and the farmers who participate sell more produce and make more money. It’s that simple. But we’re not only in farmers markets. We’ve also brought incentives to the grocery store, where they’re good for customers—and boost basket size and businesses’ bottom lines. So our video’s next stop is a family-owned CTown supermarket in a Hartford neighborhood where much of the clientele relies on SNAP to buy groceries. Through our SNAP-matching program, we doubled their purchasing power; now fruits and vegetables are flying off the shelves.
Finally we visit a pediatric clinic in Los Angeles where doctors and patients alike love our Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. Dr. Yolanda Robello speaks from the heart about what it’s like to literally prescribe things like free green beans and cucumbers—rather than simply advise people to eat better, and see them come back deeper into diet-related disease. And we meet one of her patients, Paula, a radiant single mother who describes how our program has transformed her family’s diet—and health outcomes, too.
People can only eat what they can afford, and fruits or vegetables aren’t the cheapest choices. But at Wholesome Wave, we know that when people can afford produce, they buy it. And when they do, everything changes.