Written by Jovanee Recendez
This past January 2019, Joe Prickitt, MS, RD, UC San Diego Center for Community Health Senior Director of the Southern California Nutrition Incentive Program, also known as the İMás Fresco! More Fresh program, was invited by the Chilean Minister of Health and the Director of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization to present at the Chilean Fruit and Vegetable Access Conference. This was an international conference that Chile hosted regarding public policies and programs to increase the purchase, consumption and production of fruits and vegetables.
“I feel like this is the presentation that I have been preparing for all of my life in the area of public policies and programs to promote access to fruits and vegetables,” Joe Prickitt said. Joe’s work experience includes working as the 5 a Day for Better Health Program Manager for the Hawaii State Department of Health; Assistant Director at the National Cancer Institute overseeing the nation 5 a Day for Better Health Program; Marketing Manager for the Western United States for the Produce for Better Health Foundation; and Director of the Network for a Healthy California Bay Area Region
Joe presented on federal, state and local policies and programs leading to increased fruit and vegetable purchase and consumption, including his current work with the İMás Fresco! More Fresh Program and his work with produce industry organizations (Produce Marketing Association, Washington Apple Commission, California Table Grape Commission, Sunkist, Dole Food Company, Del Monte, Birdseye, etc.).
In America, increased access to fruits and vegetables has decreased poverty and hunger and increased levels of health equity and healthy food access. In addition, increased access to fruits and vegetables has increased economic benefit and stimulus for local economies, including thousands of farmers and retailers nationwide.
The Chilean Fruit and Vegetable Access Conference discussed the issues of obesity in Chile, obesity prevention strategies already implemented in the country, and the challenges in addressing obesity prevention. In addition, the Chilean conference provided the opportunity to understand the obstacles to access and consumption of fruits and vegetables in Chile. The conference provided an opportunity to learn about successful strategies being implemented internationally to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, with the goal to utilize key conference learnings to further develop Chile’s programs and policies to increase the purchase, consumption and production of fruits and vegetables to support the health and well-being of all Chileans.