The Marion County Creating Healthy Food Environments (CHFE) Project involves creating and sustaining linkages between the health care safety net and the nutrition safety net. Two anchor health care organizations will screen families with preschool children for food insecurity and refer eligible families to the produce prescription program that includes nutrition education with produce pick-up. This network will be comprised of sustainable, accessible sources of produce which include a food share program, farmers market, food pantries and retailers. Food share produce will be purchased by participants using their Healthy Bucks benefit through SNAP. Involved partners will work together to improve nutritional literacy, reduce food insecurity, and prevent childhood obesity.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


The linkages developed between the medical network and the food safety network and other community partners will be a bold systems change for Marion County. The CHFE project will make medical practices more aware of available community resources and actively recommending those resources to contribute toward healthier behaviors of their patients. The nutrition education and doctor’s referral can change the cultural mindset in the county that they have no control over their health outcomes.


CHFE project elements are UPSTREAM since we are addressing transportation, healthy food accessibility and poverty issues by making produce and nutrition education more accessible to the low-income, particularly SNAP recipients. Our strategy is also addressing upstream factors of low median income, education deficiencies, nutrition literacy and single parent households, which are contributing to poor health outcomes and health inequities in Marion County. 39% of our children live in poverty.


The project is INTEGRATED due to leveraging existing resources from its partners. The two clinical partners already see children in our target age range and are clearly focused on health. DHEC is focused on public health and bringing community partners together to make a collective impact. The nutrition education component comes from Clemson Extension and SNAP-Ed who already provide this service. PDCAP assists low income families and provide Head Start to our target age group.


Marion County residents (67% of MCCC) and leaders comprise the membership of the Marion Co. Coordinating Council (MCCC) and are a part of the CHFE Project either in direct roles as local key partners or as voting MCCC members. All CHFE targeted zip codes have representation in MCCC. Although we have had to switch to Food Share SC for the produce prescription program, the distribution sites and other partners are local. CHFE will promote other local produce sources.


Studies show children in poverty are prone to health risks including obesity. 42.9% of the county’s children live in poverty, with significant numbers in each of the targeted zip code areas, supporting the need to address food insecurity, obesity and low produce consumption. This project will be looking at child and adult obesity county wide data and CHFE child patient specific data to measure progress. MCCC will share project results with CHFE partners and in MCCC meetings.