This photo from the Addison Independent shows Rachel Edwards (L) who provides patient health education programming for Mountain Health Center (MHC) in Bristol, handing off a bag full of locally grown veggies to MHC patient Charlotte Sullivan. Credit: Addison Independent photos/Trent Campbell

ACORN (Addison County Relocalization Network) is a community non-profit whose mission is to promote the growth and health of local food and agriculture in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. The organization’s Addison County Farmacy Project’s connects families in the Porter Medical Center and Bristol Mountain Health Center service areas with prescribed local farm CSA shares. Healthcare providers identify families facing food insecurity and diet-related illness and prescribe them the local farm share of fruits and vegetables. The shares are also supplemented with nutrition and cooking education. The project addresses the nutritional needs of participating patients while also addressing the fact that young farmers in Addison County are finding it harder and harder to establish markets for their products. To insure the continuous agricultural use of prime agricultural lands, farmers must be able to have market opportunities. For this project, ACORN focuses on providing emerging farmers an untapped market via this prescription CSA program.

RiseVT-Addison County is proud to support Farmacy shares with a RiseVT Amplify Grant. This project is an excellent example of how to encourage the concept of “food as medicine”. ACORN leads the development of the project with technical support and mentorship from the Farmacy Project at the Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) in Rutland. VFFC has been operating in partnership with the Rutland Regional Medical Center since 2015 and is an excellent model for how to make this program a success. The collaboration between health care providers, patients, farmers, and community-based organizations facilitating the program will ensure a successful, innovative, and impact initiative!

RiseVT-Addison County encourages local organizations to apply for $500-$1500 grants before August 31st. Find more information and the application here!