Empowerment, love, and connection: Lessons learned from the Farmacy Project, a food-is-medicine program in Rutland, Vermont
Keywords:Public Health, Community Health, Food as Medicine, Local Food, Produce Prescription, Diet-related Health Conditions, Local Economy
Senior high school student volunteer Tyler Carroll walks out to the car that has pulled up along the back of the renovated former iron works building, the site of the Vermont Farmers Food Center, in downtown Rutland, Vermont. Tyler says, “Hi! Can I get your name, please?” Tyler then takes one bag from the table covered with bagged farm shares and puts one in the customer’s back seat, thanking them as they drive off with their local goods.
The members are here to receive their produce prescription through the Farmacy Project, a program that provides 150 individuals in the county with 15 weeks of fresh produce grown exclusively by local Rutland county farms. Finishing up its sixth year in 2021, the program has become a standard in the area, working with healthcare providers who identify individuals with chronic diet-related health conditions who could benefit from a “food as medicine” produce share. This project intersects community health and local agriculture. Many, although not all, members may be food insecure as well, as reflected in the 68% of members this year who were food insecure based on the results of the two-item food insecurity questionnaire of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Emma Hileman
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