It’s about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the colder of the two warehouse storage rooms at the Local Food Hub, and the air smells of cardboard and brown paper, of bell peppers and root vegetables, and the earth that grew them. Boxed bushels of apples—which keep for months when refrigerated—sit on tall industrial shelves. Printed in bold red letters on the side of each apple box is a proposal, an instruction: Eat Virginia apples.
It’s a sound suggestion. As the popular aphorism goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and there’s certainly truth to the saying, as a diet rich in nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can beget better health.
But an apple a day isn’t enough for total health—there’s more to it than that. And, for some, a single apple, even one grown on a tree at an orchard just down the road, is difficult to come by.
This is the type of thing that Local Food Hub food access fellow Nathan Wells thinks about as he drops 248 crisp green Granny Smith apples into 62 brown grocery sacks on a chilly mid-October morning, packing up CSA-style shares that he’ll distribute later in the day to area clinics as part of Fresh Farmacy, a fruit and vegetable “prescription” program that’s cultivating a healthier Charlottesville by addressing both food access and public health issues in the community.