Dissemination Category: Farm to Work is an emerging intervention based on its use of evidence-based strategies. Developed in practice, it shows promise but evidence in support of effectiveness is not yet available.
Intent of the intervention: Farm to Work increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the work environment by providing a weekly opportunity for purchase and delivery of fresh produce from local farmers. The program was developed collaboratively by The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the non-profit Sustainable Food Center (SFC). While addressing multiple levels of the socio-ecologic model, the program’s primary focus is to promote individual and group behavior change by modifying the work environment to increase access, availability, purchases, and use of healthy fruits and vegetables from local farms.
Intended population: Farm to Work programs are intended for all employees of worksites offering the program.
Background: Farm to Work programs change the worksite environment by making locally grown fruits and vegetables an easy choice for employees. In 2007, through an emailed survey, DSHS investigated Central Office employees’ interest in a Farm to Work program. DSHS then identified Regional Nutritionists to champion internal and external coordination of the program, which was piloted at two sites, the DSHS Central Office and Austin State Hospital, both in Austin, Texas. SFC identified a local farmer with the capacity and desire to meet the demand of those two worksites. SFC contracted with a web developer to create an external, online ordering and payment system. DSHS staff promoted the program to all employees. Employees placed online orders for baskets of farm-fresh, local produce, which were delivered to the worksite each week.
Since 2007, the program has grown from one participating farmer and two worksites to seven participating farmers and 36 worksites. From November 2007 - September 2012, the program reached 8,707 unduplicated customers and generated $823,875 in sales. SFC and DSHS intend to continue expanding the program by including more farmers and additional worksites.
Length of time in the field: This Farm to Work program began in 2007.