Few people in the movement to promote healthy eating have as robust a resumé as Oran Hesterman. He’s been an organic farmer, an agronomy professor, and a grantmaker with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Oran founded the Fair Food Network (FFN) in Michigan to work with farmers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and others to increase access to healthy foods—especially in low-income communities—and to strengthen sustainable food economies.
With its program Double Up Food Bucks, Fair Food Network has been at the forefront of concept called SNAP incentives, which aims to increase healthy eating in vulnerable families. (SNAP, formerly known as “food stamps,” stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program.)
The challenge Oran and FFN faced was how to bring their models for change to a broader audience to help more people.
Increasing influence, affecting policy
Pyramid collaborated with Fair Food Network to craft messages that positioned both Fair Food Network and Oran as thought-leaders in the incentives movement.
We drafted a “stump speech” for Oran to take on the road, and made recommendations about the smart use of social media. We also designed infographics that made the message easy to understand.
Most important, we designed a media strategy to showcase Fair Food Network’s demonstrated success to policymakers.
While Oran championed Double Up directly with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, we placed op-eds about SNAP incentives in outlets like the Congressional newspaper, The Hill. We placed a story in the Washington Post that noted Oran’s leadership and positioned SNAP incentives as a popular point on which Democrats and Republicans could agree.
Dozens of additional stories on Fair Food Network’s projects appeared in outlets that collectively reach hundreds of millions of unique users, including NBC, NPR, Fast Company and other outlets.
Scaling the good
Farm Bill legislation with support for SNAP incentives became law in 2014. Grants were announced a year later, including $5 million for Fair Food Network to expand innovation in Michigan and additional funding for the network to support 13 states building their own Double Up programs.
When the announcement was made, we placed an op-ed in the Lansing State Journal co-signed by Oran and Sen. Stabenow, highlighting Michigan’s role in the effort. Double Up Food Bucks was featured in the New York Times’ “Fixes” series about innovative solutions to social problems.
Fair Food Network and Oran Hesterman today are known widely as leaders in the SNAP incentives movement. Hesterman is regularly ask to speak on Double Up Food Bucks, and communities across the country are turning to FFN to learn how they can support both families and farmers close to home.
combined audience size
“There’s definitely been an upping of the game since we started working with Pyramid. The number of media placements and reach of those publications has hit a new plateau.”
- Oran Hesterman, President and CEO, Fair Food Network