Friday, January 16, 2015

The Sage Colleges: Assessing the Impact of a Field Goods Subscription to Healthy Foodstuffs

The Sage Colleges 
Field Goods 

The Nutrition Science Department at the Sage Colleges recently released a study on the effects of a Field Goods weekly produce subscription on the health, well-being and finances of subscribers. The results show a direct correlation between a Field Goods subscription and healthier eating habits, increased satisfaction with eating habits and saving money.
 
Interdisciplinary academics, community engagement, international exposure, and artistic and athletic endeavors are among the pillars of the educational experience at the Sage Colleges. Sage enrolls more than 3,000 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs at the coeducational undergraduate Sage College of Albany; the undergraduate Russell Sage College for women in Troy; the graduate-level Esteves School of Education, School of Health Sciences and School of Management with programs on both campuses; and via the Internet through Sage Online.

Founded in 2011, Field Goods delivers bags of small-farm-grown fruits and vegetables to customers at workplace and community locations. It currently delivers local produce, bought from more than 70 small farms, to more than 2,000 customers in nine Hudson Valley counties from Saratoga to Yonkers. 

Subscribers receive a weekly delivery that includes about seven fruits and vegetables selected for them from small farms. Subscriptions cost $20, $25 or $30 per week and include an informative, fun and educational newsletter, In The Bag.

The Field Goods study was conducted from April to November 2014. Subscribers completed a survey prior to receiving their first Field Goods bag and again approximately three months after their first Field Goods purchase. A total of 367 new Field Goods subscribers participated in the study.

Among the study’s findings, people with Field Goods subscriptions eat healthier, eat more servings of vegetables, eat a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, are happier with their diet and that of their families, make fewer trips to the grocery store and spend less on food.

“Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most critical and cost-effective ways to improve health and reduce the costs of illness,” said Donna Williams, founder of Field Goods. “Numerous respected research studies have demonstrated that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can reduce risk of many diseases. Knowing this, we embarked on this study to evaluate the direct impact a Field Goods subscription has on the health and wellness of our 2,000+ subscribers.”

Rayane AbuSabha, associate professor of nutrition science and dietetics program director at the Sage Colleges, said it was encouraging to see that easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables could have such a positive effect on people's eating habits so quickly.

"As someone who studies barriers to eating produce, it's great to see innovative solutions that can really make a difference in fighting these challenges," AbuSabha said.

According to the study, after just three months, about 40 percent of subscribers reported they were eating healthier since joining Field Goods and ate, on average, 55 servings of vegetables per week, compared to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's national average of 11.2 servings per week. 

Results also showed that subscribers’ happiness with their diets increased by almost 50 percent. Subscribers with children also showed a significant increase in satisfaction with the quality of their family’s diet. When first surveyed, 84 percent of respondents thought their family’s diet needed improvement; after just three months, this figure dropped by more than 20 percent.

The findings also noted an increased variety of fruits and vegetables consumed by Field Good subscribers, who added on average two new vegetable categories to their diet. Variation is key to increasing nutrients needed for a healthy diet. It also revealed that Field Goods subscribers spent on average $20 per month less on groceries. There was also a reduction in trips to the grocery store.

“The majority of our customers receive their Field Goods bags at their workplaces as part of their employers' wellness initiatives," Williams said. "This study demonstrates the effectiveness of our program. There is significant discussion about the effectiveness of workplace wellness programs. We hope to establish that addressing poor diet as the root cause (pardon the pun) of so much illness is a smart and simple way to battle healthcare costs. In addition, our mission of supporting sustainable farming helps organizations create a culture of wellness and environmental responsibility.”

To review a summary of the study’s findings, visit the Field Goods website. For
For more information, contact info@field-goods.com, call 888-887-3848 or go to www.field-goods.com.

--Jennie Grey

 --Please note my new contact information below--

Education reporter
The Saratogian and The Record newspapers
20 Lake Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
jgrey@digitalfirstmedia.com
Office: 518-290-3898
 Work cell: 518-222-2109
Blog: "Extra Credit: Education News from Around the Region": http://regionaleducation.blogspot.com/



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