Can NAD+ slow down aging?

 NAD Skin

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide is a widely known coenzyme for inducing the production of cellular energy. It resides in the mitochondria of every living cell and is a primary contributor to many essential reactions and body functions. The effect of NAD+ on the process of aging is studied upon by a group of researchers from the University of New South Wales. Read on below to know the findings of the study.


How does NAD+ fight against oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress is the name of a notorious factor which speeds up the aging cycle. The mechanism behind the formation of this factor is that when our consumed food intake is converted into useful energy, it also forms a harmful byproduct known as free radical. These free radicals accumulate all throughout the body as we age. This byproduct causes damage to the cells and reduces cellular functions. If the cells are not allowed to function effectively, it will ultimately lead to the impairment of organs. When we are young, the body can battle the free radicals immediately with the help of antioxidants. However, in old age this physiological ability is lost due to the unequal balance of antioxidants and free radicals. This unbalance not only causes aging but it harms the cell membranes, proteins and DNA.

Due to these reasons, it is agreed by all scientists that when free radicals are in excess, aging will start and health will deteriorate. Therefore, the research from the university aims to show a link between oxidative stress and NAD+. By determining a link, it will be proven that NAD has importance in slowing down aging. For the study, skin samples were taken and they were tested to see if NAD levels have an influence on the age-related physiological decline.


  • Oxidative DNA damage

By testing the skin from the samples, it is clarified that the free radicals damage the structure of DNA which kills the cells. Moreover, mutagenesis can also be induced by oxidative stress in which the genetic information is changed.


  • Lipids

Free radicals create oxidative stress in the lipids which is known as lipid peroxidation. In this condition, lipids are damaged.


Results of study

This study reveals the results that with the progression of age, NAD decreases in amount. This leads to an increase in oxidation in various organs especially lipids. In men, the lipids oxidation elevates with age. The damage of DNA is also a result of age. The proteins which regulate the cells and their efficacy are known as Sirtuins. These proteins reduce in number as age increases which causes the cells to be impaired and die. On the other hand, the proteins which are responsible for the programmed cell death get higher in amount.

Therefore, it is necessary to regulate the levels of NAD in order to fight aging. This is because as the decrease of NAD occurs, physiological decline, impairment of organs and cellular damage gets initiated. These all factors are strong enough to cause the aging symptoms. The physical symptoms of aging visible on the skin can be prevented by Renue Lotion and NAD+ lotion

Finding Ideal Apple Watch Bands for Fitness and Exercise

Outdoorsy people are not likely to be found with shiny gold or silver straps on their watches.  In most cases, they opt for straps that fit their rugged and adventurous lifestyle.  If you are the kind that loves to go hiking, camping, or swimming in oceans, lakes, and pools then what you need are Apple watch workout bands.  Not only do they perfectly match and fit your Apple watch, they are ideal for your lifestyle too.  Here are some considerations that make them ideal for you:

  1. Anyone involved in sports needs to have comfortable straps that will not chafe on the skin causing irritation, pain, or distraction. In most cases sports need complete focus. When you have to worry about a chafing strap chances of losing focus are high, and that can affect performance.
  2. Water resistance. If you will have your Apple watch on when swimming, not only are you looking for comfortable watch bands you are also looking for moisture wicking Apple watch bands.  These bands do well in water because they tend to repel it instead of absorbing the water.  In addition, they dry quickly making the transition from water to land comfortable for the user, because you don’t have to wear an uncomfortably wet watch when the rest of you is all dry.  These are ideal for athletic swimmers, those who swim for exercise, water aerobics, water choreography, surfers and more.  In fact, for those who enjoy beach life or water in general, there are certain designs that are just ideal for you.  They include Aloha and High Tide designs that have a surf vibe to them.
  3. Exercise and athletics of any kind wears off clothes and accessories pretty fast. Perhaps it is all the physical activity, but one thing is for sure, the clothes and accessories worn during these activities must be durable.  The straps should fit close to the skin to avoid catching and tagging on anything.  Additionally, they need to withstand rubbing and lots of sweat without breaking and becoming fraying around the edges.
  4. A good fit. This is important because a good fit is needed if the Apple watch is to provide heart rate readings when exercising.  Every good athlete wants to function at their most efficient level and this calls for monitoring the heart rate.  A good strap that holds the watch close to the skin without coming loose halfway through the exercise period is needed.

Apple Watch Bands for Fitness and Exercise











Fitness Apple watch bands come in a variety of colors and designs to reflect your personality.  Whether you are a girly girl who enjoys keeping fit, or a ragged guy who likes to stay ripped, you will find one just for you.  You don’t have to worry about making your watch bands dirty either because they are machine washable.  Easy to clean watch bands in a variety of colors and designs are ideal for the athletic lifestyle and for your casual or dress down days as well.  Throw on a pair of jeans with a matching denim watch band, or a colorful dress with a rose colored band.  The choice is yours!



Six Tips to Overcoming Shame in Your Everyday Life

 Man in business suit wiping tears from his eyes


Same is an ugly feeling.

We’ve all felt it: that moment when we mess something up, and silently curse ourselves for our stupidity. Usually this leads to a spiral of negative thoughts that we’d prefer to avoid.

Shame itself is normal, and can even be a way to learn from our mistakes or oversights. It’s when we start letting it overwhelm our thoughts and self-beliefs that it becomes problematic.

If you’re like most people, you’d probably like to learn how to get rid of that shame—or, at the very least, control it. The first step towards getting there is understanding what shame is and how it works. From there, you can learn how to overcome and learn from it so you can take back control.

What Is Shame?

Shame is often confused with guilt. Understandably so; both involve negative feelings towards something, whether it be your actions or something about your personality. Despite this, the two actually have a fundamental difference.

According to Positive Psychology Program, the difference between shame and guilt lies in where the negative feelings are focused. Guilt is typically external, and looks at regret for past actions. Shame is internal, and tends to focus on negative aspects of your personality or your identity.

Both shame and guilt are designed to help us be more moral and to look at people outside ourselves. Because we feel bad about mistakes we’ve made and empathize with the people those mistakes affected, shame can actually encourage us to make positive changes in the future.

When Shame Becomes Toxic

Sad child leaning over the back of the chairShame, like a lot of difficult emotions, can start in childhood.

Feelings of shame can occur because parents scold their children for their personalities instead of their behaviors. This means children are more likely to be ashamed of certain parts of themselves (“I am bad”) instead of what they’ve done (“I’ve done something bad”).

Shame can also come from negative childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect. In trying to make sense of a harmful situation, we may blame ourselves.

Or, perhaps, your feelings don’t originate in childhood at all. You might be prone to anxiety or low self-esteem, which tend to facilitate shame.

Regardless of its origin, there’s a line when shame can go from a potentially-helpful emotion to a damaging one—and it’s a line that’s unfortunately easy to cross.

Because shame has to do with how you view yourself as an individual, it becomes much harder to deal with over time; it’s more difficult to change your fundamental personality than your actions. This leads to avoiding people or activities you associate with feelings of shame. It leads to feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty which taint daily life. In worst case scenarios, it can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, or even suicide.

While we all feel shame at times, it’s important not to let it control your life.

How to Overcome Shame

Shame can be emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully, most of the ways to deal with it are relatively simple. And you can start using these tips today.

1. Be honest

Being honest means more than just acknowledging when you feel shame (though that’s important, too). The idea is to refuse to make excuses for your behavior—especially if the behavior in question isn’t something to be ashamed of. Take a critical look at whether or not your actions are actually bad. Being upfront and honest with others helps, too. By acting less ashamed, you’ll eventually start to feel less ashamed.

2. Talk to someone

Talking to someone you trust about why you feel ashamed can give you a much-needed outside perspective. And since shame is so often internalized, talking about it will lessen its ability to hurt you.

Woman in deep though sitting at kitchen table3. Remember what you’re proud of

Look at what you’ve already accomplished. Make a mental list of all the things you’ve done. This directly combats shame and can quiet negative thoughts by reminding you that you’ve done something of worth.

4. Choose goals that are challenging, but attainable

It’s important to have goals that push you to work hard. But setting unreasonable or unrealistic goals can have the opposite effect, and leave you constantly frustrated by your inability to meet them. This sense of failure is a breeding ground for shame. Allowing yourself to drop some of these goals means you won’t have them lingering in the back of your mind, and you won’t feel constantly ashamed of the fact that you haven’t gotten to them yet.

5. Practice mindful breathing

Research has found that mindful breathing sessions can significantly reduce feelings of shame by helping you gain new perspective. If you’re interested, this guide can help you get started.

6. Forgive yourself

Nobody’s perfect. Everybody has flaws; everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn how to let mistakes go instead of dwelling on them. Remind yourself that everybody’s done something wrong or bad in the past. Transfer feelings of shame about yourself to feelings of disappointment in your actions, and then promise you’ll do better in the future.

For more help overcoming shame, check out this free self-forgiveness workbook.

Kids making silly faces for the camera

You Don’t Have to Be Ashamed

Shame is natural; it’s something that we all feel at some point in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with being ashamed: when you approach shame with a healthy mindset, it can help you to become a better person.

It’s when shame starts to take over that it becomes a problem.

Remember that you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are. Instead of blaming yourself for who you are, focus on your actions, and be kind to yourself. No one is perfect, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be perfect, either.

An Effective Weight Loss Supplement

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State Implementation of the New WIC Produce Package:

The report below provides an overview of the current status of the new WIC Package Rule [at 7 CFR 246.12(v)] and the issue of states authorizing farmers as vendors for the new cash value vouchers for fruits and vegetables. The first section provides a general background of the new interim final rule and its relationship with the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). The second section clarifies the differences between the new WIC Package cash value vouchers and the FMNP vouchers for Garcinia Cambogia in order to provide context for the issues faced by state agencies in authorizing farmers as vendors for cash value vouchers. The next three sections provide an overview of survey data, barriers, and case examples collected from 36 states regarding their decision to authorize or not to authorize farmers as vendors for the new cash value fruit and vegetable vouchers. The final section includes policy recommendations.

Page 1
The New WIC Package Rule: Background and Relationship with
the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
The interim final rule revising the WIC food packages was published in December of 2007, with individual state WIC agencies expected to phase in the changes by October 1st, 2009. The new rule updates the WIC food package to “align with 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The rule also reflects recommendations made in a 2005 report of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies: “WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change,” which proposed changes to the package that would “increase the participants’ choices, improve the health and nutritional quality of the foods in the program, and expand cultural food options by offering fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and the option of soymilk and tofu” (FRAC, 2006).
One aspect of the new package with particular significance for community food systems and serving the health and needs of diverse communities, is the new fruit and vegetable vouchers. The new interim rule includes cash value vouchers or checks to be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The vouchers are to be distributed in amounts of $6.00 (children), $8.00 (women), or $10.00 (breastfeeding women). The new interim rule also allows states to authorize farmers at farmers’ markets or roadside stands to redeem the cash-value vouchers (CVV) for fruits and vegetables. This component of the rule provides a great opportunity for WIC participants to gain additional access to fresh fruits and vegetables, while also supporting local farmers and community food systems.
There is relevant research on the impact of providing WIC participants access to more fruits and vegetables available as a result of the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). The FMNP was established in 1992 in order “to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to WIC households, expand the awareness and use of farmers’ markets, and increase sales at such markets” (California WIC Association, 2008). According to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), 2.3 million WIC participants received FMNP benefits in 2008, with 16,016 farmers, 3,367 farmers’ markets and 2,398 roadside stands authorized to accept FMNP coupons. These FMNP coupons led to approximately $20 million in revenue for farmers in the 2008 fiscal year (USDA, 2009).
In an evaluation of the impact of FMNP, Washington state reported that WIC participants enhanced their knowledge and skills related to fruits and vegetables as well as reported an increase in their fruit and vegetable intake. Additionally, participants in WA’s FMNP also reported that they planned to visit farmers’ markets in the future (Year End Farmers Market Pilot Report, Washington State, 2006). Additionally, the California Department of Public Health notes that of every dollar spent on FMNP, 83 cents goes directly to the farmer selling the produce, who are in many cases women, minorities, and farmers running family owned and operated

businesses (CDPH, 2009). Recognizing the valuable impact of FMNP on both the economic viability of local farmers as well as the fruit and vegetable consumption of WIC participants is especially relevant in considering the potential of authorizing farmers as vendors for CVVs.
When initial discussions began regarding the new WIC rule and allowing farmers as vendors for the cash value vouchers, many advocates were concerned that the cash value vouchers would replace the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. In the interim rule, however, FNS clarifies that the regulatory requirements for FMNP would remain unchanged by the new rule. In fact, the successes of the FMNP, in terms of increasing participant access to fruits and vegetables, as well as individual state FMNP data on redemption rates, participant approval, and farmer impacts, provides justification and a model for states interested in including farmers as vendors for the new WIC package. Additionally, for those states currently participating in the FMNP, several sections of the new rule make reference to integrating the new WIC CVV process with the infrastructure already in place as a result of the FMNP (including state authorization, contracts and monitoring). See the following section for more information.
The Potential Impact of
WIC Fruit and Vegetable Package on Farmers’ Markets
Since its authorization as a national program in 1992, the FMNP has had a significant impact on access to fresh fruits and vegetables in many communities underserved by grocery stores. New York City is perhaps the most salient example of how this program has improved food access. Numerous farmers’ markets in Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan, and the Bronx have sprouted up to capture the demand coming from the over $1 million in FMNP vouchers annually distributed to low income women in these neighborhoods. FMNP has created the subsidy necessary for these markets to thrive, which in turn have improved access to healthy food for all residents, not just WIC users.
The amount of money flowing through the WIC program for fruits and vegetables dwarfs the FMNP’s $22.1 million distribution in 2007. While FMNP served 2,347,866 recipients in 2007, WIC reached more than three and a half times that amount: 8,285,249 persons. The typical FMNP allocation is $20 or $30 per year. WIC provides $6-$10 per month ($72-$120 annually) depending on whether the recipient is a child, infant, nursing mother or pregnant woman. An estimated $500 million, or 25 times the amount of the FMNP allocation, will be available for fresh fruit and vegetable purchase through WIC every year. With this large a pool of money at stake, the potential impact on farmers’ markets and consequently the improvements in food access in low-income communities is enormous. Even if only 3-4% of all fruits and vegetables purchased with WIC vouchers were redeemed at farmers’ markets, it would match the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program buying power. However, it should be noted that there are significant

seasonal, cultural, educational, and logistical challenges for these coupons to be utilized at farmers’ markets.
Cash Value Vouchers (CVV) vs. Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) Vouchers
As individual states have begun to assess whether they will authorize farmers as vendors for the new CVVs, many state WIC agencies had questions about the similarities and differences between the FMNP and the new WIC package CVVs. On a basic level, the CVVs have the potential to serve a larger number of WIC participants. Broadly, the size of the CVV program compared with the FMNP has implications both for the capacity of WIC agencies to integrate farmers into their authorization structure, as well as additional implications for the capacity of farmers to serve a larger number of WIC recipients.
A separate issue in the context of this transition relates to states working on transitioning to EBT for WIC. Over the past several years FNS has made it a priority to expand WIC EBT programs across the country, providing states support in developing, planning, and implementing EBT systems for WIC. According to a FNS status report posted in May 2009, 14 states have conducted pilot or demonstration projects on WIC EBT with mixed results. Seven states had to terminate or discontinue after the completion of pilot as a result of resource issues and project costs (New England Multi-State Project, Ohio), and only two states (Wyoming and New Mexico) have WIC EBT operating statewide (WIC EBT Status Report, 2009). FNS expects to use these pilot and demonstration projects to address issues associated with financial sustainability of EBT for WIC as well as developing alternative technologies for EBT transactions. FNS is currently providing planning grant money to additional states (such as Virginia, Florida, Arkansas, and Wisconsin) related to WIC EBT activities. As more states continue to assess the feasibility of transitioning to EBT for WIC benefits, issues regarding training, technology, and cost will also influence WIC agencies’ capacity and/or willingness to integrate farmers as vendors for the new CVVs (WIC EBT 5-Year Plan, 2006).
In order to provide additional context for considering agency and farmer capacity for the new WIC package, as well as additional barriers faced by states in allowing farmers as vendors for the cash value vouchers, here is an overview of differences:

Comparison of Cash Value and FMNP Vouchers
When Issued
Once/year during market season
When Accepted
Must be accepted in month issued
Anytime during the market season
Amount of Vouchers
$6, $ 8, or $10 denominations
$2 or $4 for a total of $10-$30/market season
Deposit Procedure
• Farmers to put assigned WIC # on all CVV (and in some states must electronically submit check serial number to state by telephone, the internet, or data file).
• Check needs to be deposited within 45 days of the first date- to-use on check.
• Farmer vulnerable to returned check charges if accepted outside timeframe
• Deposit like a regular check (except in certain states)
• Farmers can deposit checks anytime during the 7-month market season time-frame (by December 31st)
Customer Usage
• Participant must use voucher within 30-day period listed on vouchers
• Participant must sign vouchers and present ID.
• Farmers required to write in purchase price on all checks.
• Participants may use check anytime during the market season.
• No ID or signature required
Product Types
• No white potatoes, herbs, or squash blossoms
• Inventory must be 50% or more grown by themselves.
• Potatoes and herbs allowed.
• No regulations on percentage grown by themselves, but produce must be locally grown.
Agreement with the State
• Each individual farmer must have written agreement with the state agency.
• The farmers! market or farmer may enter into written agreement with the State.
• States may enter in one agreement for both FMNP and WIC. Farmers in FMNP may be excluded from monitoring by WIC agency.
Each farmer must attend or access training on regulations with WIC.
Minimal training required.

The Status of CVVs
and State Authorization of Farmers as Vendors
Survey data collected from 50 states and DC over six months (April-September 2009) reflected that:
o Seven states are piloting or implementing the CVV program including farmers in the 2009 market season (Arizona, California, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina).
o Twelve states are implementing or piloting in the 2010 market season (Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington).
o Five states are deciding in 2010 (Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee).
o Twenty seven are not planning on allowing farmers at this time (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont , Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin , Wyoming).
Common Barriers
for States Not Planning on Allowing Farmers as Vendors
A few states were unique in terms of the structure of their WIC program (i.e. primarily rural, such as Vermont) or were not currently involved in the FMNP (or are in a limited capacity, such as Louisiana) and cited those characteristics as barriers for authorizing farmers as vendors. In general, however, there were several barriers repeatedly described by those states not planning on authorizing farmers as vendors for the new CVVs. The primary barriers noted include:
o Limited resources, staff, and time to develop infrastructure for authorizing and training farmers to accept CVV, while also working on releasing the new WIC package by October 2009.
• Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, and several other states highlighted limited resources and time as issues they considered when deciding not to

allow farmers as vendors for the new package. Additionally, the majority of states choosing not to incorporate the farmer component noted that because of the level of changes to the WIC package, they wanted to focus primarily on implementing the new rules in their state before considering additional components.
o Limitations because of EBT. Most states have not transitioned to EBT for WIC benefits (primarily because of issues related to purchasing restrictions as well as technical and resource issues) and want to wait for EBT technology before making the transition.
• Washington, Vermont, and New Mexico each mentioned that their decisions were limited by their states’ current status regarding EBT. Both Texas and New Mexico in particular have moved forward with developing EBT technology for their individual WIC programs, but have not transitioned to EBT for all of their farmers’ markets, limiting their ability to include farmers as vendors for the new WIC package.
o Concerns regarding the limited number of established farmers’ markets and the farmers’ capacity to provide sufficient amounts of food (and choices) for WIC participants.
• Alabama and Tennessee each mentioned the limited number of active farmers’ markets in their state as a significant issue in their decision not to authorize farmers as vendors. Alabama specifically noted that they believed they would need more established farmers’ markets with more available produce to make developing the necessary infrastructure worthwhile for both the participants and the farmers.
o Concerns about farmers’ market hours, location, and accessibility for WIC population.
• Both Florida and Alabama mentioned issues related to accessibility of markets for their WIC populations. Both states were concerned that WIC participants would have difficulty visiting markets during operating hours, as well as transporting themselves to markets often located in locations away from their neighborhoods.
o Issues regarding CVV/check processing, differentiation of CVV and FMNP vouchers, farmer training, and farmer vulnerability to check return charges. The majority of states vocalized concerns about processing issues related to the CVV versus the FMNP, and the additional burden placed on the farmer as a result of the way the new rule was written.
• Additionally, several states, including California and Washington, mentioned concerns about the vulnerability of farmers to check return charges as well as bank specific charges for depositing a large number of checks.
o The disconnect between the structures for FMNP and WIC CVV: Some states run the programs together, in other states FMNP is run by Department of Agriculture (or equivalent) while WIC package remains with Department of Human Services (or equivalent). Those states that work with the agency running the FMNP in terms of the new CVVs have been

more effective in addressing the barriers to allowing farmers as vendors than those states that do not coordinate between departments.
Successful Methods and Case Overviews
In terms of those states that are either currently conducting a pilot of the CVV program with farmers as authorized vendors, or are planning on starting the program in 2010, several contacts mentioned successful methods or techniques that eased their transition to authorizing farmers as vendors. These methods are listed as follows:
o Formation of advisory groups, either broad scoping policy groups, such as food policy councils, or WIC specific retail or farmers groups who can inform the transition process. More specifically, several contacts noted that coordination between Department of Agriculture and Departments of Public Health or Human Services were vital for making the transition possible.
• For example, New York’s Food Policy Council has provided a forum for representatives from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health to coordinate their efforts in implementing the new WIC package and including farmers as vendors for the new CVVs.
• Oregon’s WIC Program Vendor Manager convened an advisory group including farmers and local hunger advocates to examine the possibility of allowing farmers as vendors for the new vouchers. The group ended up supporting the WIC agencies proposal to postpone until 2010 to implement CVVs for farmers, but provided important support and collaboration.
o Development of state legislation and changes in administrative rules that includes input from local advisory groups, organizations, and vendors.
• For example, Ohio recently passed administrative rules that updated state rules to match the new Federal WIC Regulations. These changes were also supported by advisory groups or other local organizations that helped develop the state level legislation or consulted with state agencies regarding issues related to certifying farmers as vendors.
• An advocacy organization in Texas has also taken steps to encourage state lawmakers in developing legislation that supports the creation of a feasibility study group on WIC and farmers’ markets. Although Texas is not currently authorizing farmers as vendors for the new CVVs, advocacy organizations in Texas are active on the issue and the Texas WIC Program has been responsive and optimistic about future steps in the transition, including examining authorizing farmers as vendors when WIC EBT becomes available.

o Creation of pilot programs in order to assess financial feasibility and participant use of farmers, farmers’ markets, or roadside stands with the new WIC package. Several of the states surveyed mentioned concerns regarding whether the amount of staff and time necessary for allowing farmers as vendors would be productive for both their agency priorities and the WIC participants. Pilot programs have the capacity to provide concerned states with justification for developing the necessary infrastructure and support for authorizing farmers as vendors.
• California has concrete plans to conduct a pilot in two counties beginning in the market season of 2010. Florida also plans to conduct a pilot program in 2010, but has serious concerns about possible low redemption rates as a result of market locations and transportation as well as market hours of operation.
Three states in particular have been active in establishing active pilot programs either currently operating during the 2009 market season or beginning in 2010 that may help inform other states as they begin to implement the new package and work to integrate farmers as vendors for CVVs.
California is currently planning to roll out the cash value voucher program statewide beginning in early 2010. California is one of two states (the other being Pennsylvania) that uses a unique method for processing WIC checks that requires vendors to call in the check numbers of the redeemed vouchers to the WIC agency. The general structure of California’s process, other than the check processing requirements, however, is relevant to other states looking to make the transition. California’s objectives, as described by the California WIC Association (2009) include:
o Developing farmer training on banking processes, reviewing check-handling requirements, and preventing farmers from experiencing return-check charges.
o Developing a farmer authorization process and a process to allow farmers access to WIC’s automated systems so they can report check serial numbers.
o Evaluate the cost, efficiency, and participant utilization to inform future program development.
New York
New York is the first state to allow authorized farmers to accept CVVs in the 2009 market season. As one of the biggest success stories for the FMNP, New York’s WIC agency was comfortable adding the CVV to the structure of the FMNP. In New York, the FMNP is facilitated by the Department of Agriculture (which was designated by the state as a Vendor Management Agency in an MOU from 1988). This structure allows the Department of
E%,%) 18″3)8)’%,%(#’ #/ %6) <)F 012 ?$#-&G) ?,G;,H)I Page 9 !""#$%&'(%()* ,'- .,$$()$* /#$ 012 23()'%* %# 4*) 56)($ .)')/(%* ,% 7,$8)$*9 :,$;)%* Agriculture to authorize and monitor farmers participating in the FMNP, and makes it possible to more easily integrate the new CVV system, called “monthly fruit and vegetable checks” in New York. Currently, however, the Department of Health is the lead agency for the new WIC package, which has decreased the flexibility of the Department of Agriculture in supporting the program and integrating the program into the FMNP structure. The Department of Agriculture is currently trying to address this issue by developing a new agreement with the Health Department, in order to allow Department of Agriculture to further integrate the new CVVs into their FMNP structure (both in terms of monitoring compliance and the farmer authorization process). The general structure of the first year pilot is described below: o The Department of Agriculture sent a letter to authorized FMNP farmers, informing the farmers that they would be eligible for the new program, and explaining the differences between the CVV (or, in New York they are called “monthly fruit and vegetable checks”). Farmers were expected to complete a separate application for participation in the new fruit and vegetable check program, including the bank that they use, which is needed for Federal WIC oversight. o Once the farmers completed the application for participation in the monthly program, they were expected to attend a workshop/training sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. This training was done in conjunction with the training requirements for FMNP and focused on differentiating the programs for farmers, in order to reduce the risks for farmers participating in the program. o In order to meet monitoring guidelines, the Department of Agriculture already conducts field inspections of the markets for the FMNP, including compliance buys to verify that farmers are complying with the program. The Department of Agriculture plans on integrating the required monitoring for the new CVV program with their current field inspections for the FMNP. o Finally, New York’s efforts on the new WIC package issues (and previously FMNP) were coordinated and supported by their food policy council that includes the Commissioner of Health and Commissioner of Agriculture, which has allowed for increased collaboration on FMNP and now the new WIC package and allowing farmers as vendors. South Carolina South Carolina is the only state in the Southeast Region authorizing farmers to accept CVVs during the 2009 market season. As an FMNP participant since 1994, South Carolina has a strong infrastructure in place for allowing farmers as vendors for the new CVVs, as well as valuable relationships with the Department of Agriculture, grassroots organizations, and farmers. These relationships, along with administrative resources in the Division of WIC Services, has made developing the training and support necessary for integrating the new vouchers into the system a painless process. A general overview of the South Carolina’s structure is described below: o South Carolina used the FMNP structure that was already in place to develop the process for allowing farmers as vendors for the new vouchers. Farmers who are eligible to accept FMNP checks are automatically eligible to accept WIC CVV. o Those farmers that chose to participate in the new CVV component were required to attend a face-to-face training in order to become authorized. The training was conducted by South Carolina’s WIC Division, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (Senior FMNP Agency). o At the training, the coordinating state agencies presented slides on the new CVVs as well as provided a packet of materials detailing the differences (such as the different types of foods allowed by each type of check as well as processing and depositing expectations) between the FMNP checks and CVVs. This prepared farmers for the differences between the two types of checks. o During the training, the Division of WIC Services also addressed farmer concerns about the new program, which included issues related to differentiating which foods were eligible to be purchased by the different types of checks (i.e. FMNP=South Carolina grown-only, CVV=Any fresh produce-except white potatoes). o South Carolina currently reports that the planning, training, and implementation process has gone very smoothly. The Division of WIC services works very closely with the State Department of Agriculture, which is supported by several grassroots organizations focused on establishing new markets in underserved areas, as well as pursuing SNAP EBT for markets around the state. Recommendations Federal Policy Food and Nutrition Service should consider the following: ! Modify WIC regulations to allow states to use the same vendor-related structures as FMNP. Amending the regulations would address many of the barriers highlighted by individual states concerned about the resources required to develop a new system for incorporating farmers as vendors, as well as more efficiently use staff and resources already available at individual state agencies operating FMNP. ! Provide exceptions for farmers’ markets accepting CVV to match FMNP regulations, such as authorizing markets instead of vendors and removing barriers around CVV redemption and depositing. This would not only improve the capacity for state agencies to integrate the new CVV process into currently functioning FMNP structures, but it would also encourage increased participation of both states and the farmers by simplifying the differences between CVV and FMNP vouchers. Providing exceptions would also address concerns regarding the financial vulnerability for the farmers accepting and depositing CVV. ! Plan pro-actively for farmers’ markets in rollout of EBT for the WIC program. As more states look to transition to EBT for WIC, it will be important to consider how these efforts could be coordinated with the ongoing state efforts towards SNAP EBT. Developing an action plan for coordinating WIC EBT with SNAP EBT early in the process could prevent the need for duplication of resources, research, and planning in future years. ! Encourage states to allow farmers’ markets as vendors when implementing new WIC rules. It is clear that individual states could decide whether to include farmers as vendors contingent on their individual staff and resource capacities. However, states do not fully understand the similarities and differences between CVV and FMNP, as well as the capacity to use the already existing FMNP structures. As a result, many states have perceived the transition to allowing farmers as vendors for the new CVVs as an additional burden. ! Explore ways in which WIC clients not participating in the FMNP can receive similar education and information about farmers’ markets. This could include providing encouraging state WIC agencies to collaborate with the individuals coordinating the FMNP program, in order to share materials and best practices for educating WIC participants about farmers’ markets. ! Explore the connections between the use of SNAP, WIC, FMNP and SFMNP benefits at farmers’ markets to maximize coordination and synergies, in context of the forthcoming ERS report on food deserts. A greater level of coordination between these different benefits (and the divisions of FNS coordinating these benefits) will make it possible for agencies to coordinate strategies and resources to promote local healthy food for low income individuals. ! Explore the long-term integration of FMNP and the WIC program with the aim of increasing the total dollar value of federal funds flowing to farmers’ markets. Two separate programs with similar goals and different regulations is not a viable long-term strategy to connect WIC clients with farmers’ markets. Given the lack of administrative funds associated with FMNP, many local or state WIC administrators may choose to drop the FMNP program in favor of the CVVs, which have a much larger buying power attached to them. USDA needs to develop a way to link these two programs that allows for program streamlining, while guaranteeing farmers’ markets a revenue stream baseline and room for growth. Individual State WIC Agencies ! Explore ways in which WIC clients not participating in the FMNP can receive similar education and information about farmers’ markets. Depending on the individual state, WIC agencies should collaborate with either the individual/agency facilitating the FMNP program in their state to share materials and best practices for educating WIC participants about farmers’ markets. States should also develop relationships with advocacy organizations or their local Farmers’ Market Association in order to inform themselves of farmer concerns and market structure in order to better meet the needs of the WIC participants. ! Facilitate CVV training for farmers and/or market operators to fit into their schedules and geographical dispersion. Although individual states are responsible for developing trainings for the new CVVs, FNS may encourage states to develop trainings that decrease barriers for farmers. Additionally, individual states can consider working with farmers and other vendors in the planning process for incorporating CVVs, in order to develop materials and trainings that best meet the needs and concerns of farmers, as well as establish buy-in from the farming and farmers’ market community. Funding Community ! Support peer-to-peer education efforts through conference calls, one-on-one mentoring, workshops at relevant conferences, resource guides, and a centralized information clearinghouse. National non-profit organizations can facilitate information sharing to encourage cooperation between state agencies. This approach will help states to learn from their peers in leading states, and to identify strategies for overcoming barriers. ! Support state-by-state efforts to gain inclusion of farmers’ markets in WIC program, especially through administrative advocacy by NGO leaders, and the creation of advisory committees and food policy councils. Many states need to hear from the public that farmers’ markets are a priority vendor for the WIC program. Advocacy groups can help mobilize the public to communicate this message, as well as to work with WIC agencies to develop solutions collaboratively. ! Support a learning community or informal network of organizations focused on enhancing the patronage of farmers’ markets by federal nutrition program users, including sharing information on media campaigns and incentive efforts for WIC participants to shop at farmers’ markets. Across the country, activists are engaging in efforts to make healthy locally-produced food available and affordable for federal nutrition program users, such as SNAP and WIC recipients. These burgeoning efforts are not organized, nor is there adequate communication amongst them that would enable shared learning. Such a loosely affiliated network, perhaps connected through a listserve, blogs, or other electronic media would allow groups to avoid re-inventing the wheel. References California Department of Health. (2009). WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Retrieved on June 1st, 2009 from: California WIC Association. Using WIC Checks at Farmers’ Markets: Current and Future Programs. Retrieved on May 18th, 2009 from: Fisher, Andy. (1999). Hot Peppers and Parking Lot Peaches. Community Food Security Coalition. Retrieved on June 2nd, 2009 from: FRAC. (2006). New WIC Food Packages Proposed: Preliminary Summary. Retrieved on May 18, 2009 from FRAC. (2009). New Healthy WIC Food Packages: Farmers’ Markets Can Play a Key Role in Providing Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved on May 18, 2009 from Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children: Revisions to the WIC Food Packages- Interim Rule. Retrieved on May 18th, 2009 from: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. (2006 March). WIC EBT 5-Year Plan. Retrieved on June 1st, 2009 from Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. (2009 May). WIC EBT Status Report. Retrieved on June 1st, 2009 from Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. (2009 May). WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Fact Sheet. Retrieved on May 31st, 2009 from: Washington State Department of Health. (2006). Year End Farmers Market Program Pilot Report. Retrieved on June 1st from: 1. Alabama Don Wambles Administrator Alabama Farmers Market Authority No • Capacity of farmers and farmers markets to grow enough fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the season for WIC participants. • Concerns regarding sustained use of markets by participants (if markets are in competition with grocery stores). • Concerns regarding the length of the growing season and fruit and vegetable access. 2. Alaska Kathleen Wayne WIC Director Department of Health and Social Services Office of Children's Services Maybe in 2010 • Changes are quite large in the food package, and Alaska will be focused on implementing the core nutrition changes. • Since FMNP already exists in Alaska, they will not be able implement the new CVV system in 2009. • Perhaps implementation in 2010 Season. 3. Arizona Cindy Gentry Community Food Connections Karen Sell Arizona Dept. of Health Yes • Arizona Department of Health, in collaboration with Community Food Connections, plans to include farmers at farmers markets to receive the new WIC Cash Value Vouchers. • The system for registering farmers is under development during the winter for roll out in late spring/early summer. 4. Arkansas Marcell Jones, WIC Director AR WIC Program No • Implementation issues • Issues with food package rule and implementation. 5. California Laurie True California WIC Association Pilot: 2010 • Developing pilot program to assess sustainability of allowing farmers as vendors for new WIC Cash Value Vouchers (including developing necessary training, infrastructure, etc). • Concerns with burden placed on farmer register as a single vendor and in terms of processing and depositing checks. • Concerns with differences between CVV and FMNP vouchers (and additional rules tied to CVVs). • Believes that the rule should be rewritten to simplify. 6. Colorado Cheryl Cassell Retail Coordinator No • Concerns regarding WIC program capacity and resources. • Lacks pre-existing infrastructure from FMNP. • Concerns regarding vendor authorization and compliance requirements. • Decision impacted by the short implementation timeline. 7. Connecticut John Frassinelli, Director State WIC Program Department of Public Health 860-509-8084 2010 • Piloting at some farmers markets in 2010. • Concerns lie with farmers not being interested in receiving the vouchers. Especially because it is a different protocol and system than the existing successful and simple FMNP for WIC in CT. 8. Delaware Joanne White, Director Delaware Health & Social Services (302) 739-4614 or 3671 No • No plans to certify farmers to accept CVV. • In-sufficient vendors to meet the needs of WIC clients. 9. District of Columbia Gloria Clark DC WIC Program 202-645-5662 2010 • Has not fully researched issue at this point, although is planning on conducting a training before 2010 market season. • Strong relationship with farmer cooperative groups in D.C. as well as Mayors Commission on Food, Nutrition, and Health (no Department of Agriculture in D.C.). • Interested in learning more about the experiences of other states (as that has been helpful regarding other components of the new WIC package.)