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Crawl-Walk-Run Action Steps

Most articles on Better the Future conclude with actionable steps readers can take. While some of us may be ready to take off running right away, others may need time to learn to crawl. We come from different backgrounds and have differing motivations for wanting to influence change to our food culture. We hope somewhere within these steps everyone can find a comfortable place to begin.

Crawl steps are designed to make you stop and consider an idea, to think about why our culture is structured the way it is or to notice how food culture influences your daily life.

Walk steps move beyond thinking and discovering for yourself to begin to influencing the people closest to you, like family, friends and coworkers. Most people will find these manageable with few resources or outside help.

Run steps move beyond the comfort zone of our close social circles to influence the community in which we live, work and play. These often require the support of others, and work on a broader level.

Count the available fruits and vegetables

Count the available fruit and vegetable offerings at your corner market, and on menus in the next week. Notice their where they are and how they are highlighted.

Create a new Veggie Rx Program

Don’t have a Veggie Rx near you? Research models in nearby communities. Talk to your local farmers market, public health department, or health clinic to gauge interest in starting one. Find a group that has been discussing and offer your support.

 

Find a Veggie Rx near you

Find a Veggie Rx program in your area. Make a call or send an email to find out how you can participate as a recipient or a volunteer. 

Support your local farmers

Talk to your local grocery store about offering produce from local farms, especially from farmers of color. If your workplace has a cafeteria, ask about including produce from local farms.

Go to a farmers market

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a farmers market, get out there and talk to the farmers about their work and buy your fresh produce directly from them. This way they get a larger percentage of the profits, and you get to know the people responsible for growing the food you eat.

Volunteer at a local farm

Lots of local farms love for  community members to spend time getting their hands dirty and sharing their passion for growing healthy food.

Find a healthier school fundraiser

Most of us remember the fundraisers that encourage kids and their families to eat at a certain local fast food restaurant that will donate a portion of profits to the school on specific days. Ask the school how much they made last year. Then get a group of parents together and approach local businesses not promoting unhealthy meals if they would be interested in a similar arrangement. Maybe the local grocery store or a restaurant with healthy meal options would be interested.

Improve offerings in school vending machines

Find out if your local school district has a contract with a vending machine provider. If so, what is sold in the vending machines? Where do the profits go? Research methods schools have used to include healthier snacks, like flavored water and nuts, in vending machines. Bring these ideas to your next school district meeting, and see if a group can be put together to approach the vendor.

Eat at school

How much do you know about the meals your child is served at school? Ask your child and their friends if they like their school meals and what they enjoy or would change about them. Check with the school to see if you can eat lunch with your child one day to see what it’s like for yourself.

 

Join with like-minded community members

Find local groups that are actively working to oppose the proposed budget cuts. A good place to start is your local food bank or county public health office. Ask what you can do to support their efforts. The more voices are combined, the louder the message will be heard in Washington, D.C.

Let your voice be heard

Call your legislators to let them know why you oppose drastic cuts to the SNAP program. You can find out who your congressional representatives are and how to contact them here. To find out who your senators are and how to contact them, check here.

Put a face on it

Ask friends, family and neighbors whether they have ever received food stamp benefits. It’s estimated that half the U.S. population will receive benefits at one point during their lifetime. Putting a face to the story will help eliminate stigma and misconceptions about SNAP benefits.