ACORN's first Farmacy deliveries are a success
MIDDLEBURY, — Addison County’s very first food-based prescription program, Farmacy, launched on July 10. The Farmacy Program, a collaboration of ACORN, the Vermont Department of Health, Bristol’s Mountain Health Center, Middlebury’s UVM Porter Medical Center and three local farmers, enables doctors to prescribe fruits and vegetables as medicine to patients with chronic or nutrition related illnesses.
Deanna Fielder, a mother who picked up her first share of food in Middlebury, said, “I’m most excited about experimenting with different vegetables I’ve never cooked with before and finding something healthy that she’ll like to eat; food that’s good for us,” gesturing to her 13-year old daughter.
As Jessica Ball, Farmacy’s Program Manager, explained it, “one major goal of the program is to introduce affordable, nutritious foods that taste good, too. Providing fresh food is an important part of Farmacy, but the education component is just as essential to helping people adopt new habits that will improve their health.”
At the second delivery of the summer last week, members received an educational handout, two smoothie recipes and a sample taste of a deliciously sweet kale smoothie. The tastings and recipe cards are a regular part of the educational component to Farmacy that aims at helping members put their food to good use. While at the delivery, registered dietitians and Farmacy participants chatted about the fruits and veggies that filled their bags, as well as ways to prepare food that the whole family will love.
As rates of chronic illnesses and food insecurity increase across Vermont, Farmacy offers an integrative approach to improving healthcare and food access. Although this year Farmacy was only able to provide 45 shares at three practices, organizers hope that the program will increase in the future to more participants and more practices.
As Farmacy’s Program Intern, Haley Goodman, stated, “You can already tell this is working from the smile on people’s faces when they see the food in their bags. They’re ready to learn, eager to support local farms, and hungry for the opportunity to improve their health.”