On Wednesday, June 21, the Robert C Byrd Clinic kicked off their FARMacy program again in Lewisburg. The program was so successful last year that they have decided to start another site in 2023. So, on the following day (Thursday, June 22), they opened an exciting new chapter by launching a FARMacy program in Rupert, as well.
At these events, doctors “prescribe” fresh, healthy, locally grown foods to a selected group of food-insecure patients with chronic diet-related diseases. Then they provide a “prescription” entitling patients to free weekly bags of fruits and vegetables from a pop-up farmers market that will be hosted at the event. Nutrition educators provide taste-tests, recipe demonstrations, recipe handouts, nutrition education classes and discuss physical activity opportunities. The local farmers will also be on hand each week to talk about their produce. Health measurements are taken at the beginning of the event and again at the end of the event (15 weeks later) to show FARMacy participants how effective eating healthy food can be. This program works! Last year, our average patient’s A1c dropped by .9%.
All of this would not be possible without the staff and sponsorship provided by WVU Greenbrier County Extension Service, The Courthouse Farmers Market, Vandalia Health Network, Greenbrier County Committee on Aging, On The Levels Farm, Bootstraps Farm, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, etc.
Despite the rain this week, we had a great turn out for our first 2023 events. Our FARMacy team is excited to help a new group of patients live a healthier life.
The original program started in 2014 at a clinic in Wheeling. The course has been so successful that multiple FARMacy programs operate at hospitals and clinics around West Virginia. In addition to Greenbrier County, they now operate in Barbour, Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Roane, and Upshur County.