Making Waves in the Community: Michel Nischan and Wholesome Wave

Michel Nischan never seizes to amaze me. He is a man of many sorts - an award-winning cookbook author, famed chef of Dressing Room in Westport, CT and a fellow advocate for local and sustainable eating. His passion for food began at an early age but his pioneering efforts towards healthful eating arose when his son Chris was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In dealing with his son's health and looking for new initiatives in local food systems, Nischan's outlook on food was altered. "Food as a single subject has more of an impact on human health, societal health, environmental health and economic health than any other single subject," he said.

So I was pleased to see that NPR recently featured Michel and brought attention to his non-profit, Wholesome Wave, that connects low-income neighborhoods with fresh food straight from the local farmers. In total, WW has reached over 28 states and is currently working with 50 community-based organizations who manage over 300 farm-to-retail ventures that in total, impact over 2300 local, participating farms. The extended goal of WW is to create a more vibrant and equitable food system for all people, despite income by neighborhood. By working with local farmers, the accessibility of fresh fruits, vegetables and produce is reaching those people who truly can benefit from such efforts.

Although Nischan and his team work directly with farmers, their efforts reach out to community leaders, healthcare providers and government entities, as well. The specific, community-based programs WW created ranges from double-value coupons for those using food stamps to a new pilot program that fosters the relationship between healthcare providers, farm-t0-retail organizations and consumers.

Check out Food Republic for an interview with Nischan and to see their content curated by Michel himself. To find out more information about Wholesome Wave, be sure to visit their personal website.

Photo: Cyndi Amaya

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