CASE STUDY: FAME COFFEE CREEK PROGRAM
The Jason E Zidell Foundation has funded the FAME Coffee Creek program for 2 years running. We’re proud to have been able to contribute towards a program that will have long term benefits to these women and their families.
Since September 2014, the Food as Medicine Institute has provided 12 Food as Medicine Everyday (FAME) series at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) in Wilsonville, Oregon, educating over 130 incarcerated women on the prevention of chronic disease using a whole foods based diet. The FAME series at CCCF is an 8 week program that includes nutrition education and hands-on cooking instruction to provide the women with tools to overcome obstacles to eating healthy both while incarcerated and upon release. FAME is a loved program at CCCF with a waiting list of over 100 women.
There are unprecedented rates of chronic disease within the prison system. People that enter prison healthy are leaving ill. Coffee Creek is an exemplary correctional facility addressing these issues by offering educational programing, including on-site gardening and the FAME series. The surveys we have participants fill out at the end of our series illustrate impressive changes within the women who have participated. In 8-weeks we have the ability to empower incarcerated women to make lasting and sustainable dietary changes and more.
The FAME women have reported:
- Increased nutrition understanding.
- Increased confidence in the kitchen.
- Increased creativity with meals.
- Increased consumption of vegetables.
- Increased sense of wellbeing.
- Increased energy.
- Decreased consumption of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats.
- Decreased portion sizes.
- Improved stress management.
- Weight loss.
When asked how the women believed this experience would help them when released the most consistent answers included:
- A new focus on what they eat and what they buy, including how to read labels before purchasing processed foods.
- The confidence to encourage their families to eat whole foods, they will cook with their families and involve them in the kitchen.
- Using the information and skills they learned to help prevent diabetes.
The Food as Medicine Everyday series is a well received and respected program at CCCF. FAME not only provides nutrition and cooking education, it provides the women with tangible skills, such a team work, kitchen skills, and cooking experience. Research has shown that there is a significant drop in recidivism when education programs are provided during incarceration. FAME also provides a sense of community where the women come together to work, share a meal, and talk about common experiences with health and wellness. All of these factors contribute to the profound impact FAME can have on the lives of incarcerated individuals.
FAME Coffee Creek was featured in the Oregonian October 2016:
About the Food as Medicine Institute (FAMI): The Food as Medicine Institute provides nutrition education for individuals, families, and communities to help nourish healthy relationships with whole foods and to enhance healthcare professionals’ understanding of food as medicine.
We envision communities that are free of chronic disease and nourished through healthy whole foods.
To learn more about FAMI check out our website: http://foodasmedicineinstitute.com/
WHAT DO PARTICIPANTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
“In my family there is both diabetes and cancer, FAME has taught me to take preventive measures by changing my diet. I want to show my family that we can eat healthier. There are some foods I never thought I would eat or even taste, and now I am eating those foods! I am ready to go and see what I can do with what I have learned!”
“Since I started the Food as Medicine Everyday class I’ve lost 11 lbs. FAME has taught me to take make better choices such as choosing the veggie tray at meals here. Learning to read labels has shown me what to stay away from and what my body really needs. I am excited to go home to my family’s 4 ½ acre organic farm and make better food choices.”
“Before FAME and incarceration I always bought pre-made foods. I never thought it would be so easy to make my own foods. Now I want to go out buy my own food and cook! I was raised by my dad and I grew up thinking I only needed to eat meat and milk, now I know what I really need.”
“FAME will help me take better care of my family. I know what to look for and what to feed my son and husband so we can all lead a healthy life. I have knowledge now to not only cook healthy food but I have confidence to cook what tastes good!”
Some more comments from program participants
“ I am SO grateful for this class, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve enjoyed some of the food and you showed me how it can be healthy. This class has taught me so much, I am so so so blessed, stuff like this changes the world and makes it a better place!”
“This class has opened me up to trying new foods. When I first got here I was so closed mind and now I am not just eating healthy but trying new foods, like Quinoa! I have grandchildren and I want to teach them to eat healthy and try new foods with them!“
“I learned a lot about how sugar affects my body and that juice is sugar! I gave up juice and in just two weeks, I’ve dropped 4 lbs. I want to eat healthier for my family, my ex-husband has diabetes, so now I know what to feed my kids to help prevent them from getting it.”
“As FAME educators we get no information on the reasons the women are incarcerated thus we are able to see the women for who they really are and not for the mistakes they may have made in their pasts. As I observed the women chatter about their families, their experiences, and their lives while cooking I felt a sense of connection with a group of individuals I share little in common with. Feeling the women’s desire to learn and absorb new information, listening to their health struggles, and being a part of their goals upon release, is truly inspiring.” – Manda Draper
“I feel the energy and excitement increase throughout every series; whether it is a result of dietary changes, the sense of community, or the sense of purpose that comes with education, we can’t really know. I have learned that we are all shaped by our experiences and that despite our background or situation everyone deserves to have access to education that can lead to a healthier life.” – Manda Draper