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Improving Food Security and Safety

Project #1: Maximizing Household Food Resources

Additional funding secured for local research and education (during review period): approximately $250,000

Impact: This project contributed to the following condition change: improved food security. These measured and anticipated outcomes demonstrate knowledge and skills learned, which led to improved household food resource management practices. Additionally, the measured outcomes demonstrated that educators and practitioners also gained new knowledge and skills, which led to system and environmental changes that reduced barriers to local healthy food incentive programs. Local data(2019) shows that purchase of local produce using healthy food incentive programs increased 17% for CalFresh benefits and 14% for Market Match benefits as a result of these efforts, which increased food security for local residents. These programs were designed for scalability to support improved food security throughout the United States. Collectively these efforts contribute to the UC ANR public value: safeguarding sufficient, safe, and healthy food for all.



Support, Source & Duration


MFP Program, SLO & SB Counties (Note: Insert New Page Link):

Provided academic oversight and guidance;  conducted program evaluation


·  UC ANR Statewide MFP Program

·  Program Volunteers

·  4-H YDP

·  UC CalFresh Nutrition Education

·  UC Master Gardener’s

I increased SLO County support for this program by   0.5 FTE annually

~ $195,000 during the review period


10/2015 – 09/2019


Service Value:



Cost Recovery:


·       Extended UC research-based information about home food preservation to 1,422 local residents through in-person, trainings focusing on local and seasonally available produce.

·       Trained and certified 40 volunteers.

·       Trained 21 additional extenders to conduct educational programming in the community.

·       100% of participants (n=182) survey reported that they gained useful information as a result of their participation (increased knowledge).

·       98% of participants reported that they would use the information they learned to preserve foods at home (anticipated behavior change).

Jr. Master Food Preservers:

Led statewide collaboration; piloted program; provided local

academic oversight; conducted program evaluation

·  Statewide MFP Program

·  Statewide 4-H YDP

·  Program Volunteers

No additional local funding


Service Value:



10/2015 – Ongoing

Anticipated Learning Outcomes: Youth who complete this project will:

·       Learn safe, home food preservation methods

·       Explore facts about nutrition and produce

·       Engage in real life applications of science and math (e.g. heat transfer)

·       Develop leadership skills while educating others in the community

·       Collaborate with Certified MFPs to develop effective and engaging presentations.

Community Food Project:  Served as PI; provided academic oversight and guidance;  conducted program evaluation

·  Food Bank

·  Promotores

·  Master Food Preservers Volunteers

·  4-H YDP, SLO

·  UC CalFresh



09/2016 – 08/2020


Funding Source:

Sub-grantee, Food Bank of SLO County, USDA Community Food Project

·       Provided education for >1,800 low-income residents on safely freezing and dehydrating produce received at food bank distribution sites through low-cost, proven, and safe food preservation methods conducted by certified volunteers.

·       Over 98% of participants surveyed indicated that they learned useful information from participating in these lessons.

·       Reduced food waste by targeting produce items that food bank recipients report end-up in the landfill because they do not know how to prepare and store them before they spoil.

·       Provided reinforcement items (e.g. freezer bags, refrigerator pickle kits, handheld juicers) to support home food preservation efforts.

Farmers’ Market EBT and Market Match Program Participation:  Served as PI; provided academic oversight and guidance;

·  UC CalFresh

·  SLO County Food System Coalition

·  CalFresh Alliance



No additional local funds


01/2019 – 09/2019


Note: Department of Social Security did support these efforts by purchasing promotional materials

·       Research findings led to an increased understanding of barriers and constraints that low-income, Spanish speaking residents experience at Farmers’ Markets.

·       This information helped educators develop educational materials to support residents in utilizing these programs to increase the funds they have to spend on local produce.

·       Comparing the months of January through September, participating farmers' markets saw a 30% increase in new EBT/CalFresh customers from 2018 to 2019.

·       Overall dollar amount redemption of CalFresh benefits and Market Match also increased by 17% and 14% respectively.

·       Developed a guide for Market Managers that includes information on food assistance programs.

Increasing Food Security for LGBTQ+ Individuals:

Researcher, national project lead

·  Food Bank of SLO County

·  The Gala Pride and Diversity Center

·  CalPoly, SLO

·  Community-based Organizations

·  Cultivating Change Summit

·  Agriculture and Industry partners

No additional local funds


06/2018 – Ongoing


Note: Cultivating Change Foundation is supporting these efforts through the design and publication of educational and outreach materials

·       Convened a national think tank to understand and explore the prevalence of food insecurity for LGBTQ+ individuals and families in the United States

·       Partnered with researchers, community-based organizations, and other local stakeholders to increase understanding of local context, as well as to begin to develop a toolkit for use in improving policies, systems, and enviornments in communities nationwide to improve food security for LGBTQ+ residents

·       The toolkit will be pilot tested by 30+ partners across the country in their communities and provide feedback to improve the tookit

·       Once finalized, the toolkit will be published for national dissemination

Project #2: Ensuring Household Food Safety

Impact: This project contributed to the following condition change: improved food safety. These measured outcomes demonstrate improved knowledge and skills around household food safety practices. Prior research documented observed behavior changes that reduced participants’ risk of food safety as a result of participating in the Make It Safe, Keep It Safe program (Peterson, 2008). Epidemiology data from San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department (2019) shows 30% reduction in reported cases of foodborne illness between the year this project started in the County (n=131 in 2013) and the most recent data collected (n=92 in 2018). With this data, we can infer our project contributed to household food safety in the county and the state. Collectively these efforts contribute to the UC ANR public value: safeguarding sufficient, safe, and healthy food for all Californians.



Support, Source & Duration

Outputs and Outcomes

Make It Safe, Keep It Safe: Research collaborator; provided academic oversight & guidance;  conducted program evaluation

·  Master Food Preserver Program Coordinator

·  Emerita Specialist

·  UCCE NFCS Advisors

No additional local funding


06/2013 – Ongoing

·       Trained professionals, volunteers, and teen leaders in safe food handling practices through the Make It Safe, Keep It Safe workshop.

·       Participants (n=68) showed a statistically significant gain in food safety knowledge (paired pre and post assessments) as a result of participation.

Community Food Safety Education:  provided academic oversight and guidance;  conducted program evaluation

·  San Luis Coastal Unified School District

·  Community organizations

·  San Luis Obispo County Libraries

No additional local funding


10/2017 – Ongoing

·       Incorporated food safety messages in additional programming, reaching >600 participants.

·       Across all of these trainings, 98.8% of participants surveyed (n=623) increased their knowledge of food safety and/or safe food preservation techniques (utilizing pre/post assessments, as well as self-reported retrospective surveys).

·       Developed peer-reviewed educational materials for parents and caregivers of young children regarding safe food preparation and storage.