Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Goal: Increase access, availability and use of healthy, locally grown foods.

Current Projects:

  • Ocean Beach School District Summer Lunch Program – Food That’s in When School is Out!

In 2010, 64% of Ocean Beach School District students received free and reduced lunch through the National School Lunch program. What happens when school lets out? Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again. Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. Any child under 18 can participate and there are no income restrictions. Sponsors will act as the “hubs” for the program by preparing the meals each day to be distributed by volunteers and to six other host sites throughout the Peninsula. For more information visit the summer food program website at www.summerfood.usda.gov  (Rene Devantier, Ocean Park Methodist Church)

  • Healthy Beginnings Program – WIC Fruit & Vegetable Grant

The purpose of the Pacific County Healthy Beginnings Project is to increase food systems partnerships, and provide resources and education to WIC families to increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Participants were offered classes on basic gardening and provided “Smart Bags”, seeds, shovels, gloves and a kneel pad to create gardens at their homes.

Two raised beds were planted at Head Start Program sites in South Bend and Long Beach. The students have been able to watch the “greens” come up and will come back to pumpkins growing in the fall.

Two demonstration raised garden beds were built and planted at the South Pacific County Administrative Building to provide a “hands on” opportunity for WIC program participants to learn how to grow gardens at home and have the opportunity to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from the raised bed gardens.

WIC program participants will be offered cooking and preserving classes presented by Toni Gwin from WSU Extension office to learn how to prepare easy, tasty dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables and how to safely store fresh produce for use throughout the year.

This fall the Health Department will host a “Harvest meal” for program participants at each of our sites.  Food prepared from produce harvested from local gardens will be featured.

Promoting and coordinating gleaning of surplus produce from local gardens and disturbing through local food banks has also been a project promoted by the Healthy Beginnings project.

The Columbia Pacific Farmers’ Market will be held every Friday beginning May 6th from 3pm-7pm at Funland Field in Long Beach (Pacific Avenue between 2nd & 3rd). The market will feature produce, seafood, meat, eggs, locally-made baked goods and packaged foods, flowers, plants, live music and FUN!!  See you there!   For more information visit: http://www.longbeachwa.gov/farmersmarket/

  • Community Garden Coalition (North County)
  • Ocean Beach School District Farm to School Program

What began as a small group of interested staff has grown to a large group of parents and community members looking at creating a system so that the school lunches can include healthy fruits and vegetables which are locally grown. Ocean Beach School District received a technical grant from the State of Washington to identify ways to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables offered in ways that students will enjoy in our school lunch program.  In addition the group is also looking at ways to use more locally and Washington grown fruits and vegetables versus the “commodities” that are currently available.

Ocean Beach School District has received a grant from the USDA which provides funding for the district to provide fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks to the students of Ocean Park Elementary School where nearly 80% of students are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch.

The group is also working on a plan to build green houses at each of the schools within the district. The greenhouses will provide an opportunity for students to learn about growing fresh fruit and produce as part of their science curriculum. Older students can learn more advanced horticulture skills and how to develop a business plan to market their product, and the produce harvested from the gardens would be served as a part of school meals.