The FSC-GNV met on July 20 2021. The topic for this meeting was Food Access & Community Wellness. Contact information for the attendees below may be provided upon request. Please email for assistance connecting to FSC-GNV participants. To download and share these meeting notes, access the PDF version HERE.

Karissa RaskinCivic Collaboration Supervisor – City of Gainesville; Facilitator of FSC-GNV
Malia RoseCommunity Development Fellow – City of Gainesville
John NixLocal farmers of natural beef; Energy Engineer for ACPS
Miranda Carver MartinIndependent Community Member/Volunteer/Consultant
Catherine CampbellAssistant Professor of Community Food Systems – UF Family, Youth & Community Sciences
Sarah CervoneFaculty of African Studies & Humanities at Santa Fe College; Co-owner / farmer with Wild Man Foods
John BarliEx. Director of Catholic Charities of Gainesville
Kathleen PaganSenior Planner in Growth Management Dept. for Alachua County
Staci WhiteParent-Community Outreach Coordinator for Howard Bishop Middle School
Cathy BesterCoordinator of UF Food Systems Institute
Abigail Perret-GentilEx. Director of Grace Grows; Assistant Director of Community Engagement at Grace Marketplace
Meg ThelosenCo-founder of First Magnitude Brewing Company; Pres. of Working Food
David ReedContract worker with NRCS and USDA
Cathy StrileyProfessor of Epidemiology at UF; Deputy Director of UF HealthStreet
Dina LiebowitzProgram Coordinator for UF Field and Fork
James LonganeckerFarm Manager for UF Field and Fork
Kelli BrewFarm to School Coordinator at Alachua County Public Schools
Karen SherwoodLeader of Howard Bishop Middle School Garden
Brenda PhillipCommunity Gardener and advocate for food access in East Gainesville
Marty MeshLongtime food systems advocate/consultant
Belinda SmithFounder and CEO of Women Working With Women
Heather VecseyHealth Educator in Obesity Prevention Program at Dept. of Health – Alachua
Denise JavierHealth Educator in Obesity Prevention Program at Dept. of Health – Alachua
UsraHealth Educator in Obesity Prevention Program at Dept. of Health – Alachua
Ben WeeksEngineer at UF Ag and Bio Engineering Dept. at UF
Leela RobinsonDeep Spring Farm
Chef Tonya MitchellUF Campus Culinary Director for UF Gator Dining / Aramark
Satori DaysProgram Manager for Foster Grandparent Program of Alachua County
Martha BeckResident of SE Gainesville interested in food access initiatives
Catherine HartPublic Health & Food Systems Specialist in Jacksonville with UF Family Nutrition Program

Food Systems Coalition of Greater Gainesville

Presentation by Karissa Raskin – Facilitator of FSC-GNV

This presentation was provided to orient people who are new to the FSC-GNV. It also clarifies how meetings will be structured going forward.

What is the FSC-GNV?

Brief history of the FSC-GNV:

  • Oct. 2018 – Feb. 2019 – City conducted a community-based research process to understand barriers to food access
  • Feb. 2019 – Gainesville Food System: A Community Conversation Workshop where neighbors brainstormed possible solutions
  • March 2019 – Presented workshop outcomes to City Commission
  • June 2019 – Launching of Food System Coalition of Greater Gainesville.
    • Survey taken to determine the mission and focus areas of the FSC
    • Working Groups formed to address focus areas, with goal of identifying one or two projects to collaborate on
    • Informal structure and operational process developed
  • June 2019 – March. 2020 – Monthly in-person meetings with spilt structure
    • One hour as large group check-in;
    • One hour for working group discussions to focus on specific projects the group is engaged in.
  • April 2020 – Shift to virtual meeting platform (ZOOM) due to COVID-19. Opportunity to revaluate structure and operational process
  • July 2020 – July 2021 – Repositioning of FSC-GNV
    • Working groups retitled as “networking groups” to focus on networking and communication between attendees
    • Shift to bi-monthly meetings due to COVID-19 related time constraints
    • Reduced FSC meeting time and virtual platform made breaking out into networking groups difficult
    • Launch of FSC-GNV Website and listserv
    • Institutional leadership (City, County, UF, etc.) increased focus on local food systems
  • July 2021 – Repositioning again to improve collaborative opportunities…

Structure for FSC-GNV going forward

  • Return to monthly meetings:
    • 3rd Tuesday of every month @ 3pm – 5pm
    • Virtual option will remain available (in-person option may also be available)
  • Meeting Agendas:
    • Begin with 1 or 2 brief presentations on relevant project (30 min)
    • Round-robinupdatesfromattendees(60min)
    • Addressing challenges / Calls for support (30 min)
  • Alternating meeting focus each month
    • Community Food Access & Health Initiatives (odd months)
      • Produce Prescription Program
      • Healthy Corner Store Initiatives
      • Food Waste Recovery
      • Etc.
    • Supply Chain & Economic Development (even months)
      • Regional Food Hub planning
      • Foodshed Map
      • Marketing for local restaurants and farms
      • Procurement practices
      • Etc.
  • Everyone is welcome to use the FSC-GNV to share updates about resources and programs related to our local food system. Submit materials/info to have posted on our website HERE.

Partner Questions about FSC

What is the purpose of the FSC?  What benefit do partners get from showing up to meetings?

  • The FSC serves as a space for food system stakeholders and community leaders to connect, ask for assistance, provide feedback, and share resources with each other
  • FSC meetings serve as a “food think tank” in the community where we can brainstorm and solve problems together.

How does the FSC help facilitate good communication, connection and partnership between organizations in Gainesville?

  • Share information across local agencies to improve awareness of what everyone is doing and where there is overlap
  • Projects like the Foodshed Map being created by Alachua County will help show where the different food systems assets are in our community
  • Meeting minutes are always shared after FSC-GNV meetings and should be used as a way to stay informed of what is going on

Overview of Produce Prescription Program

Produce Prescription Program (PPP) is a medical treatment of preventative service for patients who are eligible due to a diet-related health risk or condition, food insecurity, or other documented challenges in access to nutrition foods, and are referred by a healthcare provider or health insurance plan. These prescriptions are fulfilled through food retail and enable patients to access healthy produce with no added fats, sugars, salt, at low or no costs to the patient. PPPs are designed to improve healthcare outcomes, optimize medical spend, and increase patient engagement and satisfaction. More information can be found here –

Wholesome Wave is an organization that focuses on PPP, they are the leaders in that space. Here is a link to their website and the  Produce Prescription Programs: U.S. Field Scan Report they have completed.

Report Highlights:

  • Prescription Redemption – 48% of programs partner with farmers’ markets, 68% utilize a paper voucher, 29% partner with retail grocery markets, and 20% provide on-site produce distribution.
  • Program Eligibility – The top 3 factors to screen for eligible PPP patients are: 38% food insecurity, 51% unspecified diet-related chronic diseases, 33% diabetes/pre-diabetes. Many programs are shifting to screen more broadly for food insecurity or being at-risk for disease to increase equity and access.
  • Barriers to Participation – Innovative models and partnerships to address redemption barriers like lack of accessible farmers’ markets and grocery stores in rural areas, access to transportation and child care, mobility challenges, and economic and cultural differences.
  • Building Partnerships – Hospital or clinic staff “champions” who advocate for the program are often crucial to initiation and success, although institutional buy-in is needed to avoid program collapse.
  • Nutrition Education – 72% of programs include nutrition education or culinary instruction as a crucial component that increases redemption and produce utilization, indicating the effectiveness of more robust program offerings.
  • Evaluation and Metrics – Programs will participants’ Electronic Medical Record access experience greater success with recruitment, documentation of health outcomes and proving program effectiveness, although HER integration is not the norm.
  • Funding Sources – Inconsistent funding leaves programs at risk of failure and hinders growth. There is a call to integrate PPPs as a preventative healthcare service within Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance plans.

Potential Funding

  • American Health Association – Voices for Healthy Kids Collaborative Grant
    • Applications can be submitted for $50,000-$200,000 for a duration of up to 18 months and can support non-lobbying and lobbying activities.
    • Invited Applicants Timeline
      • 7/26/21 – Application Available
      • 5pm 8/22/21 – Application Deadline
      • 9/8/21 Notification of Award/Decline
  • Nutrition Incentive Hub GUSNIP Grants
    • Nutrition incentive programs, of which PPP is included.
    • Application deadline in March or April typically.
    • Something to consider, as we have time to make the application robust.

UF Health Jacksonville Food Pharmacy Pilot

  • First of it’s kind Food Pharmacy in UF Health Jacksonville through partnership with multiple organizations and donors.
  • Dr. Ross Jones, medical director of community health at UF Health Jacksonville initiated the project after recognizing the inequities between a clinic in a wealthy area and one in a urban, poor area… The barriers that the individuals in the urban areas were facing were not leading to the same health outcomes. The initiative was focused on equity – giving everyone the same footing.
  • Program cost – $250,000 a year
  • Currently 96 patients who are food insecure, low income, and low access in the program.
  • Patients receive bi-weekly distributions of healthy food items per their physician based on their dietary needs.
  • Food Pharmacy on-site that has refrigerated units for fresh fruits, vegetables, and some lean meats.

Discussing how UF Health Jacksonville Food Pharmacy could fit with Gainesville

  • Is there opportunity to mirror a program in Gainesville?
  • Florida Blue representative indicated they would like for other hospitals to jump on board with the program… Karissa will follow up connect with this representative and explore potential for supporting a program in Gainesville
  • UF Family Nutrition Program has been involved in the Jacksonville project.
    • They purchased shelving units, veggie bins, and nudges – which are strategies to promote healthier options.
    • Currently trying to train volunteers to guide patients in their choices, as there is a lot of choice involved in the process.
    • Provide recipes and preparation information in their education classes. This is something they will able to be do more moving forward. Registered dietician staff is on-site to assist as well.
  • The model is client-centered and they are trying to prescribe certain items while leaving room for choice.
    • Might we incorporate items other than fresh produce? Would bone broth for patients in hospice or at end of life who are not able to digest fresh fruits and vegetables be something we could plug in? She asked about whether those needs are considered in the Food Pharmacy initiative. Karissa mentioned that many of these programs do not look at that yet – but some are more “Healthy Food Prescription” focused that are a little more board. This could be a good direction to discuss, about the needs of our community specifically. There are groups like the Mobile Outreach Clinic and Helping Hands that could be great for getting food to vulnerable populations. We also have Bread of the Mighty who has food pantries available in 3 hospitals in Gainesville. Meg said that Working Food could potentially support and will discuss with Sarah and Casey.
  • Kathleen shared that we should not hesitate due to sustainability concerns because of the great need of the program. She noted UF IFAS FNP who can provide the nutrition education component. We can look into finding additional funding and work to find more down the line.
  • Dave shared that a hospital in PA had started a Food Pharmacy. The patients were able to pick up fresh, local, organic food on their way out of the hospital. They also discussed horticultural therapy and growing the products themselves. The initiative was supported by the hospital corporation, from the medical sector. Dave shared that this would be what could get the program going in this area.
  • Karissa noted that a relationship with North Florida Regional Medical Center has been cultivated through the FSC and their dining program has started to procure from local sources. With healthcare and food system advocates and resources like the pharmacy at Grace Marketplace, Healthstreet, we can work to bring these things to those who need it most.
  • DOH Obesity Prevention has a SNAP-Ed grant, allowing them to provide assistance with the initiative, specifically around the educational component. The funding is for October through September 2022.

Organizations on board with the initiative:

  • Healthcare providers: UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, Helping Hands Clinic, City of Gainesville Community Resource Paramedicine, UF Health Shands, North Florida Regional Medical Center, VA?
  • Health/Nutrition Education: DOH Alachua Obesity Prevention Program, UF Family Nutrition Program
  • Distribution/Referrals/Logistical Support: Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program, Food Systems Coalition of Greater Gainesville, Bread of the Might Food Bank, Food Pantries at Local Hospitals (Supported by Bread of the Mighty), and Alachua County Health Care Advisory Board

Questions to consider

  • How do we establish a program not reliant on annual grant funding? Who can be a committed donor?
  • What data would a major health institution and/or insurance provider need to be willing to commit to the longevity of this program?
  • Grant funding to cover start-up costs but would an MOU be needed to lock-in recurring funding if that pilot is successful?
  • Can we build local procurement in to the program so we are supporting local farmers as much as possible?

Next steps

  • Reach out to project leads with Jacksonville initiative (UF Health and Florida Blue)
  • Attend Community of Practice: Produce Prescription Program meetings
  • Connect with Florida Food Policy Council to learn how other communities in the state are working on these programs
  • Submit grant for funding planning/small-scale pilot

Meg inquired about American Rescue Plan dollars being used to fund this pilot. Karissa shared that using the ARP funds utilization has not been yet discussed, but could be a good addition to the East Gainesville Grocery store project that is being drafted currently. Kathleen Pagan shared that Courtney mentioned potential funding through the DOH Obesity Prevention Plan for this, specifically around the educational component.

Karissa mentioned that other than the Community Resource Paramedicine Plan (CRPP), that the City does not have a direct mechanism for getting the food to these individuals, as it is the healthcare providers and the agricultural community who will grow the food. CRPP is through Gainesville Fire Rescue. They can go into the home of and work with individuals who end up in the emergency room for non-emergency purposes, as they do not have a PCP, insurance, or transportation to the hospital. The goal is for the CRPP to assist with the environmental and non-emergency issues from home to relieve the emergency rooms and get individuals what they need in an effective and less-costly manner.

Partner News and Updates:

Grace Grows

  • GG is looking for a Volunteer Garden Coordinator to assist with expanded programming. They are also looking for a Board Secretary and Board Treasurer.
  • On behalf of GRACE Marketplace – COVID impacting significantly. Working Food helped tremendously during early stages of the pandemic. They are currently making 66 extra meals a day. DOH coming out for COVID testing 7/21. Call for various organizations throughout the FSC to assist with food.

Alachua County Public Schools

  • The school gardening program is beginning. If anyone is able to assist or contribute, please reach out to John. The aim of the garden is to be an education program where children will be able to eat the food that they are growing at their school. This is starting this summer with targeted school.

Local Producers

  • From a producer standpoint – the county is working through Anna Perez to get a food processing center for meats started in the Newberry area. They are currently doing a market study to see if a USDA slaughterhouse could be set up for small meat producers. First meeting was week of 7/12.
    • Sarah shared that the USDA currently has a grant for small-scale meat processing and offered assistance and connection with other small meat producers.
    • Meg shared that Working Food has a local meat processors using their small scare kitchen, showing support for the need in the area.
    • Dave noted the impact of pandemic on local farmers. Many have begun selling directly to people as restaurant sale option was no longer available. The new meat facility would continue to support this by allowing it to be distributed locally.
    • John emphasized the sustainability aspect of the local plant, allowing easier access to the resource. Call for letters of support to county commissioners, as initiative needs economic and policy support from local government.  


  • Sarah Cervone – There are currently lots of federal grant proposals in for things like small-scale meat processing or food waste, but many of them are not constructed in the best way which is likely why they are not receiving the funding. Proposed idea to host a grant-writing workshop to assist local organizations in preparing grant proposals for relevant opportunities. Suggestion to have Mickey Singer, Marty, Shelley, and others to provide educational components.

UF Food Systems Institute

  • Plans for a mid-October event on campus to highlight hidden hunger both locally and globally and the efforts of the Food Systems Institute working on that.
  • Hosting Gators Give and Serve encouraging volunteers with local organizations focusing on food access and food security on October 16th, which is World Food Day.
  • Evening of 10/16, working with HealthStreet on Night of Dance at Bo Diddley Plaza.
  • On November First – Future of Food Distinguished Panel at the Reitz Union on campus with a focus on Carbon Neutral Food Systems. The panel will be composed of distinguished members from all over the world, some virtual and some in person. Event website and registration development is in the works, should be available soon.
  • On the week before Thanksgiving, going to be hosting a pre-Thanksgiving International Food Fair to bring awareness to food affordability and food access on campus. More information to come in the next month or so.
  • Currently compiling list of organizations for students to volunteer at Gators Give and Serve, and are considering extending service call through the week before because of challenge with Saturday only opportunities.
    • Karissa suggested making sustained volunteerism as something to consider moving forward.
    • Belinda seconded this – volunteerism is challenging, specifically needing it consistently and regularly. She expressed the need of her program to have a volunteer base for the work they do. Belinda recommended that the FSC could be a great place to develop a volunteer base that all organizations could share to assist with various events.
    • Abigail shared that UF student volunteering is difficult, as the students are typically only asked to complete 5-10 hours of service and do not return after that is completed.
    • Belinda shared that the court system is often a source of volunteers for WWwW.
    • Malia shared that Santa Fe students do want to participate in volunteering, but many students do not know what is going on. Often students find out too late and already have plans. She shared that knowing where the information is would be a great help.
    • Karissa mentioned that the Food System Coalition website could be a great place for volunteer recruiting. People could then be funneled to organizations through that channel.
    • Miranda shared that social media activity could be a possibility as well – especially for getting the word out around events.


  • The CTSI van will be at Whims Barbershop 7/21 for cholesterol and glucose screenings, along with HealthStreet assessment and information referral. They will also be providing the vaccine.
  • HealthStreet is looking for places to go and people to work with to get health literacy and the vaccine out. This is an initiative with Health Literacy Media and IFAS. The goal is to get information into people’s hands in the most creative ways possible to get people vaccinated.

Women Working With Women

  • Belinda Smith is the founder and CEO. The organization is in its 9th year of operation.
  • Women Working With Women focuses on working with women from incarceration to single parenting and food distribution. The organization focuses women conferencing and empowerment.
  • Since the pandemic – shifted goals to provide food distribution on the county level with the city.
  • Currently, they are feeding about 3,000 families in a couple of hours on a monthly basis. This is slowing down with the vaccine available, but they still see great need.
  • Launching an “End it Now” Abuse program behind bars for women. The program aims to address domestic violence, mental and physical abuse.
  • Women Working with Women is providing the “Living Your Best Life” program which is in its 3rd moth. The program educates and prepares the women for the workplace and helps them to transition to a work place.
  • Planning for next food distribution which will likely be in October. They are looking for a location that is large enough where they can provide food distribution on a daily basis moving forward, as opposed to monthly.
Food Access and Community Wellness Notes from July 20 2021

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