Nutrition Policy Institute researchers were awarded a $199,786 grant from the California Collaborative for Pandemic Recovery and Readiness Research Program, also known as CPR3. The grant funds a collaborative project with NPI principal investigator Lorrene Ritchie, co-principal investigator Susana Matias from the University of California, Berkeley and the CACFP Roundtable. The project, “Child and Adult Care Food Program: Impacts of COVID-19 Changes to Meal and Snack Reimbursement Rates on Family Childcare Home Providers, Children and Families – Phase 2”, builds on a current project to understand the impact of COVID-19 changes to CACFP reimbursement rates for family child care homes on CACFP participation, food quality, and food security. The one-year project began on July 1, 2023 and includes Kassandra Bacon as project manager, Celeste Felix as data analyst, Reka Vasicsek as research coordinator, Meirong Liao as Administrative Coordinator, Hannah Thompson as statistical consultant, and Ken Hecht as policy advisor. A goal of the CPR3 Program is to generate policy-relevant evidence to improve the health and well-being of California residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPR3 Program is funded by the California Department of Public Health. California Department of Public Health will not be involved in study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript development, or the decision to publish.
The California Nutrition Incentive Program provides CalFresh—known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program nationally—participants monetary incentives for the purchase of California grown fruits and vegetables at Certified Farmers Markets and small businesses. Nutrition Policy Institute was recently awarded a contract to determine how CNIP benefits can be equitably distributed in communities where participating retailers operate and to understand the impact of CNIP participation on participants' produce purchases, produce intake, and food and nutrition security. The 27-month project started on January 1, 2023, and includes NPI's Wendi Gosliner as Principal Investigator, Sridharshi Hewawitharana as project manager, and Samantha Sam-Chen as data collection manager. The team has conducted previous evaluations of CNIP, showing its promising associations with decreased participant food insecurity as well as highlighting participants' fondness and appreciation for the program and their perceptions that it increases the quantity and variety of California-grown fruits and vegetables they consume. This project is funded by a contract with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
California's San Joaquin Valley is home to many low-income Latino agricultural-worker families who disproportionately experience food insecurity and diet-related diseases. Yet free school meal participation is surprisingly low. Through the existing alliance between the Nutrition Policy Institute, Stanford Medicine's Partnerships for Research in Child Health, Cultiva La Salud, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Stanford University Office of Community Engagement will fund a new project to co-create culturally and linguistically relevant materials for Spanish-speaking families, utilizing their feedback, that explain the history of school meals, United States Department of Agriculture nutrition requirements, and how families can advocate for school meal improvements that fit within the constraints of the school nutrition programs. The funding will also support dissemination of report findings to the USDA and other key nutrition advocacy groups. The 8-month project started in January 2023, and includes NPI's senior policy advisor Christina Hecht and policy director Ken Hecht. Learn more about their project online, and visit the NPI website to learn more about our work to evaluate school meals for all in California and other states.
Working families with low- to moderate-income can receive up to $6,000 in Federal benefits and an additional $3,000 in California state benefits through the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the largest poverty alleviation programs in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers EITC a critical evidence-based cost-effective intervention to improve health within five years, however only 53-80% of eligible families received these benefits in 2017 and 2018. Nutrition Policy Institute's Wendi Gosliner will collaborate with Rita Hamad from the University of California, San Francisco and Lia Fernald from UC Berkeley on a project to test an outreach program designed to improve take-up of the Federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits among participants in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The two-year project, “Advancing health equity by alleviating poverty: A multi-level, evidence-based pilot trial to increase take-up of the Earned Income Tax Credit,” started October 1, 2022, and was made possible with funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. This project builds on previous work by Gosliner, Hamad, and Fernald as part of their Assessing California Communities' Experiences with Safety Net Supports study, which showed barriers to Federal and state EITC uptake.
The California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project aims to develop and refine a scalable model for increasing the purchase and consumption of California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables by delivering supplemental benefits to CalFresh recipients in a way that can be easily adopted by USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized retailers in the future. The California Department of Social Services EBT, in partnership with CalFresh, Office of Systems Integration, and California Department of Food & Agriculture awarded three grants to non-profit organizations or government agencies to meet this goal. Nutrition Policy Institute's Wendi Gosliner received $90,313 as part of a larger $537,690 grant from CDSS to collaborate with the Ecology Center to evaluate and understand the experiences and impacts of the pilot project on farmers' market managers, vendors, and CalFresh shoppers. The Ecology Center of Berkeley coordinates the Market Match consortium and will pilot the new program in Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Alameda, Napa and Sacramento counties. The two-year project began on October 1, 2022. The NPI project team includes Carolyn Chelius and Sridharshi Hewawitharana. Gosliner has conducted evaluations of CDFA's Nutrition Incentive Program for the past five years.