Wellness champions use CSAs to creatively promote healthy eating

By Erin Long | Emory Report | July 5, 2018

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Wellness specialist Dawn McMillian poses with the Community Supported Agriculture boxes distributed to Emory’s wellness champions to help them encourage healthy eating in their departments.

Emory’s latest health and wellness challenge, Operation: Eat Right, hopes to spur lifelong habits of better eating across campus. The campaign, which runs through July 29, asks employees to complete four different nutrition “missions” and, in return, they earn points towards their medical plan incentive dollars on Healthy Emory Connect, Emory’s wellness platform.

Emory’s wellness champions are serving as the ground soldiers in each of their departments, helping their co-workers, friends and colleagues carry out their missions.

To create some additional excitement around eating healthy and promote the challenge campus wide, the Healthy Emory team recently provided wellness champions with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares so they could offer fresh produce to people in their departments.

CSAs have become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from farmers. Interested consumers purchase a share (or membership) and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Emory offers several opportunities for employees to utilize CSAs with easy pick-ups on campus.

“The free CSA boxes were a big hit,” says Nichole Arnett, a wellness champion at Yerkes Main Station. “Many people were completely unaware that the Oxford College CSA even existed.”

Arnett used her CSA box to set up a table of fresh produce every Thursday in a high-traffic hallway. “People would stop by to see what I was doing with a fresh box of produce next to me. Next, they were asking about the program, the pricing and where the pick-ups were located.”

Other wellness champions used their CSA boxes in different creative ways to promote Operation: Eat Right and getting better nutrition on a regular basis.

Hannah Parks, a wellness champion at the Candler School of Theology, decided to use her department’s CSA shares for their weekly staff potluck luncheons. “We’d pick up the box before the potluck so our staff could take home veggies for their dinners that evening,” she says.

Alethia Snipes, who works in the Undergraduate Office of Education, used her shares to create a produce basket that her officemates could pick from. She also provided recipes from Zipongo, another Healthy Emory Connect nutrition resource that’s available to help employees plan more nutritional meals.

“It is not too late to join Operation: Eat Right,” says Dawn McMillian, wellness specialist. “Even though we’re half-way through the campaign, employees can jump in at any time and start earning points on Healthy Emory Connect and get their medical plan incentive dollars.”

To join the Operation: Eat Right Challenge, benefits-eligible employees must first join Healthy Emory Connect. To learn more, visit the website.