When a family struggles to put food on the table, paying for healthy and fresh food may be out of reach. Research shows that there is a strong correlation between food insecurity, poverty and diet-related health issues like obesity and diabetes. These chronic illnesses can be prevented or improved by a healthy diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. To help people in our community improve their diet and their health, Marion-Polk Food Share is piloting a new program this summer in partnership with community health clinics in Salem and the Grand Ronde community to give select participants a “prescription” for free farm share of vegetables every week for 10 weeks.
Lancaster Family Health Center and the WVP Weight Management Clinic are selecting 30 patients managing a diet-related illnesses to receive free CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share of fresh fruits and vegetables. This produce is grown by local teens at the Marion-Polk Food Share Youth Farm. Participants in the prescription CSA will also receive the benefits that customers from the Youth Farm’s traditional CSA program enjoy, including weekly produce, newsletters, cooking demonstrations, tastings, and recipes during the growing season.
In Grand Ronde:
In the West Valley (Grand Ronde, Willamina, Sheridan), 30 patients of the Grand Ronde Health and Wellness Center are being screened to receive a free CSA share from Osprey Farm in Willamina each week for ten weeks this summer. The goal of this program is not only to increase access to healthy food in the West Valley, but also to establish and improve relationships between the community and farmers in the area. This way, the local food system is strengthened while residents of the West Valley receive fresh produce for better health.
Everyone receiving a Farm Share Rx will also receive nutrition education alongside weekly fresh produce. At the Youth Farm, participants will have the opportunity to take part in a monthly food preservation series class hosted by the OSU Extension Service. They will not only receive recipes and cooking demonstrations on how to utilize their produce currently, but also an opportunity to learn how to preserve extra produce they may receive for the winter months. In Grand Ronde, participants in the Farm Share Rx program are invited to attend a 4-week course called Plan, Shop, Save, Cook hosted by OSU Extension Service, that teaches meal planning, understanding food labels, how to save money at the grocery store, and cooking a healthy meal. Tastings will also be available at each class and at each Farm-Share pick up.
This is the first year of the Farm Share Rx Program and space is very limited. If you are interested in learning more or participating in the Farm Share Rx, please contact:
Surabhi Mahajan at SMahajan@marionpolkfoodshare.org or 503-581-3855 for information about the Salem program
Emily Vincent at EVincent@marionpolkfoodshare.org or 503-581-3855 for information about the Grand Ronde program
The Farm Share Rx Program is made possible in part with a Community Partnership Grant from Salem Health.