This month, the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) is preparing to launch the first Farmacy Project in Addison County on July 10th. Those enrolled in the program will receive prescriptions from their healthcare providers to receive free community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares of fresh fruits and vegetables. Local farmers will be furnishing the CSA shares with 10-12 pounds of food that patients will pick up weekly. While the Farmacy Program is the first of its kind in Addison County, it is modeled after similar programs that are in action across the state of Vermont and will serve three different primary care facilities for 12 weeks. The program is a part of the preventative medicine movement that believes that food is medicine, especially for chronic illness management. The program hopes to tackle the issues of food insecurity and food and nutrition related illnesses by providing free, nutritious foods to those in need. Additionally, the program provides education to those at risk due to food related habits, inactivity, smoking, and lack of access to healthy foods.
The program, which has been in the works for 2 years, has partnered with the Vermont Department of Health, local health care providers, and local farmers to provide individuals with type II diabetes, heart disease and other preventable, diet-related illnesses healthy food while offering our farmers new and sustainable markets. The program director, Jessica Ball, states, “We are excited about the launch of the program, but this is just the beginning. With rates of food insecurity and chronic illness increasing in Vermont, we hope to expand the program in future years to meet this elevated need.”
With 14% of Vermont children living in food insecure households and over 50% of deaths in Vermont resulting from food and nutrition related illnesses, Farmacy is addressing incredibly pressing issues regarding health and food access. Following this summer’s pilot program, ACORN hopes to expand the program’s length, increase the number of shares available, add delivery sites, and explore sustainable funding sources.
More about ACORN: ACORN's mission is to promote the growth and health of local food and agriculture in Vermont's Southern Champlain Valley. ACORN is a community-based organization working to reinvest in our local economy, revitalize our local food systems and reconnect our regional community. Our programs include: Tour de Farms, Farm-to-School and Community Food Education in Addison County, the annual Guide to Local Food and Farms, and other events that unite the people and landscape of Addison county.