We're on a mission to provide improved access to nutritious, locally grown food, basic nutrition education, and cooking skills to help prevent and treat chronic disease in West Virginia.
The FARMacy WV pilot program was initiated in 2016 as a collaboration between a free and charitable community clinic in Wheeling, West Virginia and Grow Ohio Valley, an urban farming group also located in Wheeling. The collaboration came out of a joint concern for the health of the population of West Virginia which continues to lead the country to this day in chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
We have seen since the initiation of this program, through standardized HIPAA protected biometric data collection, that "healthy food is medicine," and that the first method of both treatment and prevention of chronic disease should be a healthy diet. Providing access to healthy food as well as education in nutrition and cooking skills in the nutrition deserts and food insecure regions of West Virginia has allowed us to do so.
Since 2016 the program has continued to grow throughout the state. As of 2023 FARMacy WV is located at 30 locations in 24 counties. These locations include hospitals, clinics, and private doctors’ practices. We have recruited and supported West Virginia farmers, growers, and aggregators to provide produce for the program. WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program educators provide the nutrition and cooking skills classes for the initial six weeks of the program as well as weekly recipes and on-site food demonstrations using produce available to participants each week.
The program has been standardized to 15 weeks. Our target patient population remains those with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, but most have comorbidities of obesity, hypertension, heart disease, etc. All participants receive one week supply of fresh produce via a written prescription by their provider which they exchange for the produce on a weekly basis for 15 weeks.
Biometric data collection includes HgA1c and lipid profiles pre- and post-program as well as weights and BP throughout the course of the 15 weeks. Surveys are conducted pre- and post-program to elicit information about food insecurities, eating habits, produce preparation and consumption in addition to other relevant participant information. (The surveys are available on our website for download under the Get Started dropdown in the header.)
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 highest rate in the country
West Virginia has a 16.4% rate of obesity in children aged 2 to 4 and a 20.3% rate of obesity in children aged 10-17.
FARMacy WV 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.