The Family and Food Matters! (FFM) interventions are grounded in the reality that food insecurity is rarely addressed in conjunction with the multiple adversities affecting those living in poverty. They simultaneously target food insecurity, family/caregiver stress or the access to nutritious and affordable food for future generations.
To develop them, the McSilver Institute collected qualitative and quantitative data following a community-based participatory research model with caregivers with kids and pregnant women in NYC experiencing, or at-risk for, food insecurity. Community members, content experts, organizational representatives, social workers and researchers developed two curricula: Family and Food Matters to Caregivers and Kids (FFM-CK) and Family and Food Matters to Pregnant Women (FFM-PW). Both are evidence-informed manualized programs that aim to decrease food insecurity, increase the ability to address the well-being of the family units and pregnant women, as well as increase support.
FFM curricula were supported by grants from the Ample Table for Everyone (ATE), a not-for-profit working to help the 1 in 5 New York City families living with food insecurity.
FFM materials are available in English and Spanish.
Family and Food Matters to Caregivers and Kids (FFM-CK)
FFM-CK aims to increase opportunities for quality family time around heathy P.L.A.T.E.S: Participation. Learning. Activity. Togetherness. Eating. Summary.
FFM-CK is a 7-week nutrition and family wellness program that seeks to decrease food insecurity, increase access to and intake of healthy foods and strengthen family relationships. It includes concepts from the evidence and strengths-based 4Rs and 2Ss for Strengthening Families (2008) curriculum with added content from the City Harvest curriculum. Nutrition and food-related topics are discussed in relation to the USDA MyPlate food groups and the family strengthening 4Rs and 2Ss (Rules, Responsibilities, Respectful Communication, and Relationships as well as Stress and Social Support). There is also a weekly family meal preparation led by a food preparation leader of selected Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters recipes.
The pilot study, conducted with English and Spanish-speaking families in NYC, revealed a decrease in food insecurity and an increase toward more positive family functioning. FFM-CK materials include the curriculum manual and a comprehensive toolkit with information for group facilitators and participants to assist in the dissemination of this program.
Family and Food Matters to Pregnant Women (FFM-PW)
FFM-PW aims to increase access to and intake of appropriate nutrient-dense foods and strengthen resources via the maternity support group ABCs: Announcements, Bonding, and Cooking.
FFM-PW is a 4-week nutrition and wellness program that helps to decrease challenges around having sufficient and healthy foods to eat and increase support. The manualized program includes components of the 4Rs & 2Ss for Strengthening Families curriculum. Like FFM-CK, it introduces information from the USDA MyPlate and engages women in creating a healthy meals. The pilot study, conducted with English and Spanish-speaking women in NYC, indicated a change in the relationship between depression and food insecurity as well as a decrease in food insecurity. A comprehensive toolkit accompanies the manual to assist in the dissemination of FFM-PW.