The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” promotes the idea of eating fresh wholesome food to stay healthy. But what about those who simply can’t afford that general prescription? Fresh might be best but it’s also expensive and inaccessible to many folks in certain areas.
That’s where the New River Health District Farmacy Garden, in collaboration with Virginia’s Department of Health, steps in. In a recent article, Takepart explains the innovative program, which is able to combine health care, healthy eating, and nutritional subsidy programs...
Volunteers do all of the gardening work, and after an hour pitching in to weed or harvest or seed new crops, the gardeners—patients of the clinic and women who qualify for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—go home with a bag of fruits and vegetables.”
Similar WIC gardens are starting to sprout up across the country in places like Michigan, Kansas, and Washington. They pick up the slack where traditional WIC staples fall short by providing healthy, fresh foods. Such programs not only provide healthy physical activity and food, but they also give participants a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency that is often otherwise lacking.
In the same article (reports Takepart), Meredith Ledlie Johnson, a health educator at the Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program says,
What I’ve found with gardening overall is that it really taps into people’s memories of a healthier lifestyle—having a garden with their grandmother, cooking vegetables with their mother,” she said. “They talk about the recipes they had for these things growing up and realize, ‘I don’t do that anymore,’ ‘I don’t do this with my kid.’ We’re tapping into that skipped-over generation.”
The program is doing well, in part because it is in synch with the growing demand for local food and the recent call for more non-pharmaceutical prescriptions and prevention plans.
We love this idea and hope it keeps building steam. The closer we are to our food, the better we understand it … and the better we eat.
- Doctor’s Orders: For Better Health, Put Your Hands in the Dirt via Takepart
- Community Health Center of the New River Valley Facebook page via CHCNRV
Read all articles by Juniper Briggs