The FARMacy Pilot Program was initiated in the summer of 2016 as a collaboration between Wheeling Health Right Clinic in Wheeling, WV and Grow Ohio Valley, an urban farming group also located in Wheeling, WV. The collaboration came out of a joint concern for the health of the population of West Virginia, which leads the country in chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
We hope to prove via data collection that "food is medicine," and that the first method of both treatment and prevention of chronic disease should be with a healthy diet.
Wheeling Health Right Clinic patients who qualified for our Pilot Program had one or more chronic diseases. Most of them had diabetes in addition to obesity, high cholesterol, and/or high blood pressure.
We provided participants a "prescription" for fresh produce weekly for 15 weeks, as well as education about how to prepare the produce. All participants had blood testing and completed surveys before and after the program to demonstrate how the fresh produce had helped to improve their health and well being.
We opened the FARMacy Mobile Market on Thursdays in the Wheeling Health Right Clinic parking lot from 10am-2pm for participants and community members.
Results of our before and after blood testing did prove that both blood sugars and cholesterol improved when patients ate a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits. The completed surveys showed that education about produce preparation increased participant confidence to prepare these recipes at home. The majority of our participants said they felt better, had more energy, and would continue to eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables if they had access and could afford to do so.
Wheeling Health Right, in partnership with Grow Ohio Valley, expanded the FARMacy program in 2017 to 25 weeks, allowing us to provide produce to more patients! We added an additional location at the Moundsville Pharmacy on Saturdays for the convenience of patients who live in Marshall or Wetzel Counties.
We also launched our "Cooking From the Ground Up" program at West Virginia Northern Community College, which combines basic food preparation skills with healthy, nutritious meal planning and wellness tips for patients and outside participants.
In 2018 FARMacy WV expanded to Wetzel County with a collaboration between Health Right patients served at Wetzel County Hospital Clinic and the Go Local, Grow Local farmers and growers association. 25 patients received healthy produce for the growing season which made a difference in their ability to treat their chronic disease. They received information about the nutritional value of their produce and were given recipes on how to prepare it. Farmers and growers were there at every pick up time to sell to the public, and we know that hospital personnel took advantage of this event weekly. We considered the program a successful pilot endeavor into an area of West Virginia which is truly a food desert with the idea of expansion of the program in 2019 to include Tyler County. The pilot program was championed by Lisa DuMars, who with her husband Jon, is a local grower in Tyler County and the coordinator of Go Local, Grow Local. She is an amazing advocate for the FARMacy WV program, and we are so thrilled that she is on board with expanding the program!
Wheeling Health Right in conjunction with Grow Ohio Valley continued their FARMacy WV program for year three of their collaboration, and we provided 50 patients with healthy fresh produce for 16 weeks during the growing season. Many of the patients from 2017 were back to participate once again in the program. Patients were provided recipes and healthy eating tips from the West Virginia University Extension office as well as nutritional education about the produce. We considered this year a successful continuation of a solid partnership with Grow Ohio Valley. Patient participants benefitted from the locally grown fresh produce to help treat their chronic disease, and the improvement in their HgA1C levels reflected the fact that FOOD IS MEDICINE.
of adults in West Virginia have Type 2 diabetes, the highest rate in the country
of adults in West Virginia have High Blood Pressure, which also leads the country
of West Virginia adults are obese, the second highest rate in the US
West Virginia has a 16.4% rate of obesity in children aged 2 to 4 and a 17.9% rate of obesity in high school children
FARMacy moves forward towards our goals with the help of many talented people and generous organizations. Please visit the links and read more below to learn more about our partners.