nutrition ole health

Featured Story, News

OLE Health Launches Partnerships to Promote Healthful, Seasonal Eating Habits

New programs augment existing efforts to address nutrition and food security

NAPA – January 24, 2022 – In complement to OLE Health’s nutrition services and in service to its efforts to address health disparities in the community, OLE Health today announced it has embarked on partnerships with the UC Master Gardeners and Napa Farmers Market to promote healthy eating.

The Master Gardeners will help tend and lead educational efforts at OLE Health’s Garden at its Napa Valley Vintners South Napa Campus, made possible through the generosity of Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi. In addition, the Napa Farmers Market will use seasonal produce, including items from the OLE Health garden, to create and demonstrate how to prepare healthy recipes in the OLE Health teaching kitchen through an online show called “What’s Cooking?”

“We understand how vital proper nutrition and access to fresh produce is to health,” said Dr. Teresa Shinder, Chief Medical Officer for OLE Health. “But we also understand that many of our patients and others in the community may face barriers to healthy eating, and we want to show them all the resources available in the community – including OLE Health – that can improve their overall wellbeing through good nutrition.”

Garden with the Masters

OLE Health has offered nutrition services for many years, and its garden at the South Napa Campus brings a new dimension to patient education. To expand this service to the broader community, OLE began conversations with the UC Master Gardeners to help with planting, harvesting, and hosting monthly educational events. The UC Master Gardeners is a volunteer organization associated with the University of California Cooperative Extension.  Its mission is to extend research-based knowledge on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of California.

“UC Master Gardeners are thrilled to collaborate with OLE Health, utilizing their wonderful garden to teach seasonal food gardening, crop rotation, and sustainable gardening practices,” said Yvonne Rasmussen, Volunteer Program Coordinator for the UC Master Gardeners of Napa County. “We are always looking for opportunities to help our community understand how to grow and harvest seasonal fresh produce at its peak – when it is most nutritious and tastes best.”

Starting in March, the community is invited to Garden with the Masters the third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the garden at 300 Hartle Court in Napa. Topics will include:

  • Seasonal care and pest management for fruit trees
  • Planting by seeds or starts
  • Transplanting seedlings
  • Harvesting previously planted produce
  • Crop rotation
  • Maintaining healthy soil

What’s Cooking?

OLE Health has also partnered with the Napa Farmers Market to promote cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as increase participation in the CalFresh Market Match program, which doubles food assistance dollars to purchase fruits and vegetables at the market. Local chefs will create recipes with produce from the OLE Health Garden and Napa Farmers Market featured on a seasonal online show called “What’s Cooking?” that teaches the community how to prepare healthy recipes that leverage cultural dietary preferences and traditions. “What’s Cooking?” will be available in Spanish and English.

“We are delighted to launch this program with OLE Health that shows cooking with local ingredients can be fun and easy,” said Cara Mae Wooledge, MPH, Director of the Napa Farmers Market. “’What’s Cooking?’ will highlight vibrant flavors and inspire our community to explore the joy of eating with the seasons.”

The first episode launched last fall with Napa Farmers Market Culinary Director and  local chef, Sandy Sauter and her recipe for Cauliflower “a lo criollo” with chipotle carrots and sauteed greens.

Food Assistance

OLE Health offers enrollment assistance in the CalFresh program, which provides money to eligible households to purchase food items from grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and even online grocery retailers. The Napa Farmer’s Market has a “Market Match” program where they will match every CalFresh dollar spent on fruits and vegetables at the market.

Additionally, the third Friday of every month in Napa and Calistoga, OLE Health conducts food distributions to help address food insecurity in Napa County and provide healthy, whole foods to families who might be struggling. Food is purchased through Community Action Napa Valley and distributed at OLE Health’s North Napa Campus and Calistoga health center. Each month, more than 2,000 pounds of fresh food is given to 300 families.

About OLE Health

Since 1972, OLE Health has provided comprehensive care to all individuals regardless of insurance or ability to pay. OLE’s Health offers primary care, dental, optometry, and behavioral health services and embraces a patient-centered model of care. By emphasizing care coordination across departments, as well as referral and enrollment services, we ensure all the patients’ health and well-being needs are met. OLE Health has seven clinics across Napa and Solano County and is the only nonprofit health center in Napa County. OLE serves 40,000 patients annually and is the second largest provider of primary care in Napa Valley.