Research indicates that food insecurity (i.e. without access to a reliable source of nutritious food) is detrimental to a child’s developmental health. One in five children in California faces hunger daily, according to the California Association of Food Banks. In Tulare County, the number of children living in food insecure households is above the state average (29% compared to 22.9% of California; from Kidsdata.org). Additionally, the County has a high percentage of students eligible for free school lunch (74.53% compared to 58.13% of California). While poor eating habits and lack of exercise is a major concern for youth in the region, a primary issue is access to fresh fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy diet (Community Health Needs Assessment, 2016). Fueled with this critical information, key community stakeholders spearheaded a call to action, developing and implementing the Healthy School Farmer’s Market in schools where a high percentage of students participate in free or reduced-price meal programs.
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