FARMacyWV Prescriptions for Produce Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: FARMacyWV is a 15-week produce prescription program in West Virginia serving individuals with chronic diseases who are also experiencing food insecurity. Healthcare providers give eligible patients a written prescription for $25 worth of fresh produce per week for 15 weeks. Participants are given the freedom to select their own produce from a farm stand at the clinic site or from a local farmers’ market. (Each participating clinic has the autonomy to run the program slightly differently, but this model is recommended over a produce box distribution model.)

All participants are also automatically enrolled in a six-week nutrition education class led by a West Virginia University Extension Family Nutrition Program educator. Participation in these classes is optional but highly recommended. 

Biometric data, including weight, blood pressure, lipid profiles, and hemoglobin A1c levels, are collected by the healthcare providers on-site at the healthcare clinic during the first and last week of the program. 

How they do it: The program is currently available in 24 counties and is based on four distinct pillars to which all participating clinics must adhere:

  • Increased access to fresh, locally grown produce and opportunities for interaction with growers
  • Nutrition and culinary education
  • A medical provider who identifies eligible patients and provides a written prescription for fresh produce
  • A standardized data collection system to demonstrate the program’s impact

Based on the West Virginia growing season, most clinics run the program from June through October. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture helps clinic sites identify local farmers to provide produce for the program, and clinics may use a local produce aggregator when it is not possible to partner with a local grower. The farmers generally set up their produce stand once a week, at the clinic or another location within the county. The growers themselves are available to give participants more information about how the produce is grown and how to prepare it. 

Nutrition education classes follow the Eating Smart, Being Active curriculum, which focuses on diet quality, physical activity, food safety, food security, and food resource management, and includes cooking demonstrations, physical activity, discussions, and hands-on activities. 

Mission: To provide improved access to nutritious, locally grown food, basic nutrition education, and cooking skills to help prevent and treat chronic disease in West Virginia.

Major Funding: Previous funders include grants from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Walmart Foundation, private insurance, community benefit dollars, and local philanthropic groups, with assistance from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, West Virginia University, and the West Virginia University Extension. Generally, each site secures its own funding at the county level.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Varies by site 

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: In 2022, participants’ hemoglobin A1c levels decreased by an average of one percentage point, which amounts to $8,000 in healthcare-cost savings per person per year. 

FACT SHEET:

Locations: 30 locations across WV

Core Programs: Produce prescription program

Number of staff: 0

Number of volunteers: 4

Areas served: 24 counties in WV: Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Ohio, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Upshur, and Wood

Year Started: 2016

Co-Founders: Dr. Carol Antonelli-Greco DO and Amanda Cummins PA-C  

Contact Information: Email: farmacywestvirginia@gmail.com 

Learn More:

5/5 - (1 vote)

You may also like

Subscribe To The Weekly Food & Nutrition News and Research Digest
The Center for Food As Medicine's weekly email news and research digest is everything you need to know about food, nutrition, fitness and health.
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will NEVER be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×