June 24, 2015

(Charlottesville, VA) — In an effort to increase access to local food, community partners are collaborating to offer the Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program to seventy-six families in the City of Charlottesville. Through this program, patients and their families at three area health clinics are “prescribed” a biweekly supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs grown by local farms. The prescriptions are complemented by recipes and educational programs that help to encourage home cooking and develop familiarity with new foods. The goal is to improve the health outcomes of participants.

Fresh Farmacy is pilot program supported by a state grant to the Thomas Jefferson Health District to encourage healthier eating and improve health outcomes within the City of Charlottesville. Local Food Hub is providing the foodand has already delivered approximately 2,000 pounds of fresh produce, 85 pounds of meat, and 200 pounds of farm fresh eggs to participating families at the Charlottesville Free Clinic, JABA/Westhaven Nursing Clinic, and Martha Jefferson Starr Hill Health Center. Healthcare providers at these sites identify patients who are at risk for lifestyle-related conditions (such as obesity and diabetes), and are ready to make a change. The City of Promise provides targeted marketing and outreach among these communities to encourage participation in and enthusiasm for the program.

Every two weeks, patients pick up their “prescriptions” and complete a brief survey with their clinician. The surveys gauge patients’ receptivity to the fresh produce by asking how many products they prepared and liked, how many family members tried the food, and if they would purchase locally grown produce in the future. Seventy-six families are currently enrolled, and enrollment is closed at this time. Fresh Farmacy will continue throughout the rest of summer, at which time final results will be available.

For more information regarding Fresh Farmacy, please contact Laura Brown with Local Food Hub at 434-244-0625 or, or Kathryn Whitestone with the Thomas Jefferson Health District at 434-972-6244 or