The most nourishing foods aren’t always the most accessible. To bridge this gap, the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance (HDFFA) is forging partnerships with several Bend-based clinics to offer better access to fresh vegetables and fruits for patients experiencing hunger, or food insecurity, and a diet-modifiable disease like Diabetes. Their new program called Veggie Rx, is being piloted in the Bend area with support from PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement, Central Oregon Health Council and Pacific Power Foundation.
Research shows strong ties between healthy eating and affordability of healthy foods. Together with its partners, HDFFA aims to improve the health of Central Oregonians through increased consumption of and access to fresh vegetables and fruits.
Participants of Veggie Rx receive $20 worth of produce vouchers each week for eight consecutive weeks. Vouchers are obtained and redeemed at the Bend Farmers Market. Each participant works closely with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to learn how to purchase, prepare and cook fresh food; understand the important role of vegetables and fruits in a healthy diet; and gain access to additional nutrition education resources.
“Veggie Rx fits well with the mission of High Desert Food & Farm Alliance and simultaneously supports citizens and farmers,” says HDFFA Executive Director Katrina Van Dis. “We have several goals for the program, including initiating and strengthening the conversation between health care providers and their patients, and addressing food insecurity by increasing access and removing barriers to accessing fresh foods.”
Participants are currently being enrolled for the pilot program. Voucher distribution begins in June and continues through October 2018. Providers interested in getting involved can contact the HDFFA Community Health Worker, Hannah Brzozowski, RDN at 541-610-6046. Veggie Rx is inspired by and adapted from similar programs from the La Pine Community Health Clinic and Gorge Grown Food Network. More information can be found at hdffa.org/veggieRx.
HDFFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit serving Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties as well as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. HDFFA’s mission is to support a healthy and thriving food & farm network through education, collaboration and inclusivity. For more info visit hdffa.org.