Despite the COVID 19 crisis and the gobal pandemic, the FARMacyWV: Prescriptions for Produce program was successful in 2020! In fact due to the dedication, efforts, and creativity of clinic staff, educators, and farmers, FARMacy WV has opened 10 new programs in clinics in the most food insecure counties of the state. The WVU Extension office was awarded a large grant from the Walmart Foundation to establish not only new FARMacy programs, but also Kid’s Markets and expansion of the Snap Stretch program. The program, “Appetite for a Healthier Future” focused on Barbour, Boone, Cabell, Greenbrier, Lincoln, Mercer, Mingo, Roane, and Upshur Counties and provided 30 patients at each clinic with produce for 15 weeks.
The WVU Extension Program provided the educational component for the clinics, and due to the COVID 19 restrictions that were mandated by the state, were more creative in their approach then ever before. The produce distribution was also different this year due to these same restrictions, but the staff in all of the participating clinics rose to the occasion. They developed innovative ways to distribute produce while continuing the interaction and connection to their patients.
The Health Research Department of the The WVU School of Public Health developed software to aid clinics in data collection and analysis. The health metric data as well as data collected in the pre and post surveys of the program will provide sustainability for FARMacy WV in the future. The Walmart grant will continue for an additional year through 2021 continuing with data collection and analysis.
Several of our existing sites in the state rallied on through the COVID summer of 2020! Tyler County as well as Wheeling Health Right both had successful years despite the pandemic with creative approaches to both pick up and education. New members of the FARMacy family include Mountain State Clinic in Paw Paw as well as Camden Clarke Hospital in Parkersburg.
As we move into 2021, the planning sessions for FARMacy WV throughout the state have already begun. We are hoping and praying that last year was the worst of the pandemic and that we are heading for calmer waters. Regardless, we shall carry on with our mission of providing access to healthy food and education to patients in need throughout the state. Go FARMacy WV 2021!!