In 2015, Local Food Hub partnered in the Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program pilot. Supported by a state grant to the Thomas Jefferson Area Health District, patients at three area health clinics were “prescribed” a biweekly supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, grown by Local Food Hub partner farms. The program concluded in November and we are actively fundraising to ensure the program returns in April for the 2016 season. In the interim, to continue to build upon the healthy habits developed among patients last year, we are partnering on a Fresh Farmacy cooking program during the month of March.

Patients from last year’s program are participating in a series of cooking classes focused on teaching basic culinary skills and healthy nutrition choices centered on local produce. Select patients from each of the three clinics will complete a two-class cooking series, which is offered free of charge, and includes basic transportation coordination. Patients will also take home a bag of fresh produce and other items following each class. The bags will include all of the recipe ingredients to replicate what they learn in class at home with their families, as well as other seasonal items for them to enjoy.

Last week, patients prepared a delicious orange chicken dish with roasted winter root veggies and made-from-scratch applesauce. The class began with basic knife skills, including how to safely chop garlic, carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes. Patients also learned how to sauté, roast, and bake. All of the patients contribute to the recipe, taking turns chopping, sautéing, and measuring, and enjoy the result together family-style.

Next week, the final cooking classes will build upon the skills they have developed and introduce new techniques. Patients will prepare chicken and veggie stir-fried rice and baked egg rolls, using Local Food Hub cabbage, carrots, pastured eggs, and more. They will also take home a state-of-the-art wok to ensure they have the tools they need to prepare healthy meals at home.

The 2016 Fresh Farmacy Program is set to begin in April, and Local Food Hub continues to fundraise to ensure the program can support all enrolled patients. If you support healthy communities and small family farms, please consider a gift.

Thank you, Local Food Hub supporters!

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