Underlying Theory and Evidence
Farm to Work is an emerging intervention and evidence in support of effectiveness is not yet available.
Strategies Used1: Farm to Work programs are based on the following evidence-based strategies related to healthy eating:
- Changing access and availability to favor healthy foods and beverages. Farm to Work programs are designed to improve access and availability of fresh, local, fruits and vegetables through worksite deliveries. By utilizing a simple online order system and by delivering baskets of produce on a regular basis to a convenient location, Farm to Work programs are making it easier for employees to get a variety and amount of produce that they might not otherwise have in their neighborhoods.
- Food and beverage marketing to favor healthy foods and beverages. One key part of Farm to Work programs is marketing local, fresh produce. The Farm to Work Toolkit includes designs and suggestions for posters, bags, T-shirts, and PowerPoint presentations to promote the program. While much of this marketing is designed to specifically encourage participation in the program, exposure to the images and messages is likely to also increase positive attitudes toward these products. Other aspects of the program, such as including ways to learn more about the farmers and learning recipes to use with the produce, will also serve as positive marketing for fresh produce.
- Increasing purchasing and use of foods from local farms. Another key component of Farm to Work programs is the support of local farmers. This Farm to Work program demonstrated that farmers were able to financially benefit from participation and welcomed the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with local customers.
- Social support for healthy eating. Farm to Work programs incorporate social support for healthy eating through two mechanisms. First, the workplace (which is arguably one of the most important social networks for most people because it’s where we spend much of our time) is supporting healthy eating by offering this program. Second, when multiple people from the same worksite purchase the baskets, they will see each other at pick up and be able to discuss what they are getting and what they plan to do with it. Casual discussions of recipes or how people’s children reacted to new vegetables are encouraged by this program and can gradually shift the culture of the worksite to one that is more supportive of healthy eating. From a larger perspective, knowing that the produce was grown by local farmers and learning more about the individual farmers creates larger community social support for healthier eating. Lastly, worksites making the Farm to Work program available for employees conveys support for the employee’s health and well-being and raises employee morale.