UCOM

Healthy Food Policy

Purpose

UCOM values the health of our land and its people and is committed to the Good Food movement.  UCOM believes that all people regardless of socioeconomic status should have access to healthy food options. As the food resource center for our community, UCOM strives to provide nutritious food for all people that we serve. We recognize that good nutrition is very important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We want to ensure that every person, even those with income insecurity and food insecurity, has access to healthy food. UCOM believes in the power of education to transform lives and will work with our neighbors to create a culture of health empowering individuals to Eat Healthy to Be Healthy

Implementation: Purchased and Donated Product

Since we have more control over what items we purchase compared to what items are donated our purchasing guidelines will be stricter.

  • Purchased items:
    • When purchasing food for the pantry UCOM will concentrate our resources on healthier items.  Looking at the nutritional labels, special attention will be paid to sodium, sugar and fat content.  We will purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables and encourage donors to purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares for the pantry.   Additionally, UCOM will utilize some of the garden beds from the Growing Green Neighbors program to grow extra produce for the pantry.
  • Donated Items:
    • UCOM will promote the donation of healthy food items during food drives. UCOM will maintain a list of healthy foods requested on our website and distribute this list through social media outlets. We will continue to work with the Heartside Gleaning Initiative to acquire fresh produce left over from the farmers’ market. UCOM will to use Feeding America of West Michigan (FAWM) to source fresh or minimally processed fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy and healthier snacks.  Additionally, UCOM will investigate local sources for other healthy food staples. 
    • UCOM will prioritize the following items for distribution:
      • Fresh fruits and vegetables sourced locally or grown in our gardens
      • Minimally processed frozen or low sodium canned vegetables
      • Minimally processed frozen fruit, fruit canned in its own juice, and dried fruit
      • Whole foods such as beans, eggs, seeds, and rice
      • Whole grain items such as breads, cereals, or pastas
      • Healthy oils
      • Lean proteins
      • Healthier snack options like whole grain low sodium crackers, chips and popcorn
    • UCOM will not distribute:
      • Candy
      • Soda or sugary drinks and sports drinks
    • UCOM is also committed to reducing our distribution of sweets and less healthy snack items

Our Broader Nutritional Commitments

UCOM will also offer additional activities that support healthy living.

  • Nutritional Options for Wellness program
  • Healthy Living classes
  • Growing Green Neighbors gardens (community and home)
  • Health Screenings
    • Calvin nursing students offer blood pressure and glucose testing
    • Eye exams offered by the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • UCOM will display updated health and nutrition information in our lobby
  • UCOM will  promote and display healthy recipes for seasonal produce
  • UCOM will continue to offer healthy cooking and nutrition classes
  • UCOM will expand its movement classes and promote the Health Department’s  walking/biking initiative
Holding the belief that “Food is a key determinant of Health” UCOM will focus our messaging on the concept of Eating Healthy To Be Healthy. With donors, consumers, volunteers, staff and the community we will strive to communicate that healthy food is a human right and not just a privilege and that all food is not created equally.  UCOM will invite individuals from Access of West Michigan and the Health Department to speak to our board and volunteers sharing the Good Food Charter and our countywide shift towards creating a culture of health.