Food Access

A food system is only as good as it is equitable, and from the start Local Food Hub has worked to ensure that all members of our community have access to fresh, healthy food. Our food access programs are also designed to help small family farms survive and thrive by providing a valuable market outlet for their products.

The Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program was established in 2015 to provide biweekly shares of local fruit and vegetables to those members of our community who have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and suffer from diet-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In addition to the bounty in each share, participants receive program support materials designed to build confidence in cooking and eating locally and seasonally, plus tips for safe storage and handling of produce at home. Local Food Hub is responsible for program development, management, and fundraising, while the shares are packed and delivered by 4P Foods.

Several private and public employers have also adopted the Fresh Farmacy program as part of their existing wellness and health initiatives. These programs are now run in direct collaboration with 4P Foods, using materials and program design developed by Local Food Hub.

Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program

The Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program is a partnership between Local Food Hub and the Thomas Jefferson Health District, Charlottesville Free Clinic, Sentara Starr Hill Health Center, City of Promise in the Westhaven community, Region Ten Community Services Board, the WIC Clinic in the Southwood neighborhood, and the University of Virginia Employee Wellness program, BeWell. Site managers identify and enroll patients who are at risk for diet-related disease, and are ready to make a lifestyle change. Biometric data is gathered at the beginning, midpoint, and end of this 28-week program, and participants are surveyed about their cooking skills, eating habits, and nutritional intake as a result of the program.

Local Food Hub works with 4P Foods, which in turn works with small Virginia farmers to plan for and plant 13 shares worth of seasonal vegetables and fruit. These shares include 6 to 8 items per week, at least 1 fruit, and several ‘no-cook’ items that are perfect for healthy snacks. Program materials include a recipe collection developed by students at the PB&J Fund Kitchen, a pantry starter kit, and support materials for varying reading levels featuring colorful ‘food families’ and simple tips to boost confidence and skills in the kitchen.

From the start, the program has been a tremendous success: Biometric data demonstrates improvements in weight and blood pressure, and surveys and focus groups provide many  examples of improved wellness such as changes in dietary habits, reduction in medications, confidence to begin an exercise program, and improvements in energy level and overall health.

 

Thank you, Local Food Hub supporters!

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