In North Carolina, more than 1.5 million people (about the population of West Virginia) are food insecure. This means that not every member of the household has access to healthy and nutritious food choices to support an active healthy lifestyle. Many of our neighbors also live in areas where it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.

The Y is working hard to bridge this gap and provide access to our community. We began a nutrition department in 2013 to distribute healthy food, teach good nutrition habits, and do cooking demonstrations in Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell, Haywood, and Madison counties.

Our Mobile Food Markets distribute fresh food along with information on how to store it and practical, cost-effective cooking lessons. We now reach more than 400 families each month at our markets.

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) teaches children how to make healthy food choices and to enjoy physical activity, contributing to their social and physical development. HEPA standards build a healthier future for our nation’s children by creating environments rich in opportunities for eating well and moving more.

Our Y has adopted HEPA standards throughout all of our nutrition work to include snacks in our afterschool and day camp programs, as well as the healthy food we distribute in the community.

Mobile Food Markets

Our free Mobile Food Markets visit dozens of locations each month, pairing free healthy food with tasty recipes, practical cooking demonstrations, and valuable nutrition information that's easy to understand. Spanish-speaking community staff are also on hand to connect attendees with local resources. Distributions are FREE and open to the public, no questions asked. 

June Mobile Food Market Schedule

Cooking Matters® Signature Courses

Cooking Matters Signature Courses teach adults and children how to prepare and shop sensibly for healthy meals on a limited budget. Over the course of six weeks, instructors build upon participants’ own experiences to teach budgeting, shopping, and cooking skills.

Participants build confidence in their new skills through hands-on classes that result in improved cooking techniques and shopping savvy in daily life. Classmates also help one another by sharing feedback on each other’s progress. Participants receive ingredients weekly to practice making the class recipes at home.

By using what they learn in class at home, Cooking Matters course graduates maximize their food resources, make healthier choices for their families, and prepare balanced, delicious meals. Because proper nutrition is critical for children’s health, development, and ability to learn, acquiring these skills can return important long‐term benefits for a family’s physical and economic well-being.


To learn more about these programs, please email us or call 828-775-7081.