A Healthy Food Initiative called Farmacy was kickstarted on June 3.
This program is a collaborative effort of Sistersville Rural Health Clinic and a local, non-profit organization called Grow Local Go Local, which local farmers reportedly work under. Lisa DuMars, a local farmer working with the Farmacy program, explained that this organization’s mission is to provide locally-grown produce to people in the community in order to improve health.
As it is aligned with the health clinic, those involved in the Farmacy program are able to obtain healthcare in conjunction with this.
Farmacy participants were chosen out of a pool of Sistersville Rural Health Clinic’s patients, and those chosen will have the opportunity to receive fresh prouduce every Monday for twenty weeks. In addition to providing produce, patients will be able to participate in a six week cooking class as many individuals aren’t sure what to do with the produce they acquire through this program. A walking club will also be held each Monday immediately following the Farmacy Program.
While only those selected are able to receive free produce, local farmers involved in this program will also have various vegetables avaibale for purchase. DuMars explained that all produce provided for the patients and sold by farmers is locally-grown in Tyler and Wetzel County, which Casey – a represenative with the Department of Agriculture – noted was far healthier than store-bought produce.
Casey, who has been involved in various Farmacy programs for five years, helps with the production planning for farmers, writes weekly newsletters from an agricultural standpoint for patients, helps in planning, with running tables, and talks with the patients. Her goal is that in conjunction with helping patients create a healthier diet, that these individuals also understand what this program means for local farmers, and how its helping them.
DuMars further explained that through the process of this program – which was said to be funded by Grow Ohio Valley and Sun Life Trust – the health clinic and those involved will continue to encourage participants and monitor their individual health. It is also through the Farmacy program that DuMars hopes to promote healthy living and eating as well as promote local farming.
“It’s such a great thing to be promoting peoples health and promoting local agriculture in the area – it’s wonderful,” DuMars expressed.
In addition to the produce provided by local farmers, Nutrition Outreach Instructor Julie Bolen will also be available throughout the entirety of the program in order to offer taste-tests of the doctors choice of produce. On June 3, the doctor chose lettuce, and as such Bolen chose to make salads for taste-testers. Bolen also offered to sign individuals up for a walking program called Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days. This program is to start on June 10; each participant will be provided with a pedometer which will track their steps. The patients will then keep a log, which will be collected each week during the Farmacy program.
The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt made an appearance at the Sistersville Farmacy that day. “These Farmacies, or Healthy Food Initiatives, are a great way to highlight the local food economy and how it’s good health for the citizens of West Virginia. It’s also good health for the economy of West Virginia.” Commissioner Leonhardt said in regards to this program.
The Farmacy program will be held each Monday at 11 a.m. behind the Sistersville General Hospital, and all are invited to come and support local farmers.