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Addison County’s First Farmacy “Food as Medicine” Program Declared a Success

www.acornvt.org/farmacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

October 16, 2019

 

Contact: Lynn Coale, Executive Director, Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN)

lcoale@acornvt.org, (802) 349-9772

 

Addison County’s First Farmacy “Food as Medicine” Program Declared a Success 

“My family benefited by being able to get fresh fruits and veggies without going broke”

Middlebury, VT – Addison County’s inaugural food-based prescription program, Farmacy, ran for 12 weeks this summer and provided a bounty of incredibly fresh local produce to 45 patients and families. The Farmacy Program, a collaboration of ACORN, the Vermont Department of Health, Bristol’s Mountain Health Center, Middlebury’s UVM Porter Medical Center, Middlebury Natural Foods Coop and three local farmers, kicked off in July and came to a close at the end of September.

Patients suffering from, or at risk of, chronic or nutrition-related illness received prescriptions for free weekly CSA-type boxes of local fruits and vegetables. Weekly boxes included summer favorites such as strawberries, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn, and also introduced patients to items they might not be as familiar with, such as tomatillos, Asian eggplant and baby bok choy. An education committee comprised of dieticians, nutritionists and educators provided creative recipes along with corresponding tasty samples liked cheddar kale scones and chilled ginger carrot soup to encourage patients to try something different once they got home.

The “food as medicine” concept, while new to the Champlain Valley, has been around for a few years in other parts of Vermont, including Rutland County, as well as across the country. “This was a great pilot program that we hope to continue and expand in the future.” says ACORN’s Executive Director, Lynn Coale.

While official data is still being processed, a few highlights can be gleaned from the patients’ exit surveys. One patient proudly proclaimed “My cholesterol isn’t as high” since participating in the Farmacy Program, and another declared “I’ve lost over 10 pounds.”

ACORN and its partners look forward to continuing the program in 2020 with more families who live around the Champlain Valley. “Between supporting our local farmers and boosting the health of our neighbors, this is a win-win program for the entire community,” says Lynn.

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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, Farmacy and other events that unite the people and landscape of Addison county. For more information, go to http://www.acornvt.org/.

FARMACYconnects families facing food insecurity or diet-related illness, with a health care provider’s prescription to local farm shares, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), of fruits and vegetables supplemented with nutrition and cooking education. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/AddisonCountyFarmacy/.