RUTLAND—Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Vermont Farmers Food Center’s (VFFC) Health Care Share (HCS) program distributed the final 125 farm shares to Rutland County residents for the second summer growing season. The program will now move to monthly distributions for the remainder of the year, according to a Sept. 28 news release.
For 12 weeks during the summer, HCS members receive a weekly bag full of fruits and vegetables from local farms as part of VFFC’s Health Care Share initiative. Members pick up their shares at the Rutland Community Health Center on Stratton Road or at the Vermont Farmers Food Center on West Street in Rutland. The VFFC HCS program, in its second year, is partnering with local primary care and health services providers to increase access and consumption of healthy foods for low-to-moderate income and at-risk families in Rutland County.
The HCS encourages healthy eating habits, supports economically challenged new and small-scale farms, and provides a resource for health care professionals to offer support to patients in reducing chronic disease risk factors related to diet. VFFC HCS involves local youth through summer employment opportunities, engages community volunteers, farmers, and HCS members as part of the regional food network.
In 2015 VFFC HCS provided 75 memberships and expanded to 125 memberships in 2016 reaching over 640 individuals combined. Through funding provided by the Bowse Health Trust of Rutland Regional Medical Center, donations from community members and grants awarded by local and regional funding partners, VFFC is able to manage coordination for the program, support new and small scale farmers and provide a resource to local health care providers to cultivate a healthier community. HCS members report increased consumption of healthful foods and improved comfort in cooking with and eating fresh local produce.
Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) began as a grassroots, volunteer-led project and is spearheading the rebuilding of infrastructure necessary for agriculture to serve as a regional economic engine through the development of 2.93 acres of industrially zoned land with four existing buildings in the heart of Downtown Rutland.
For more information visit vermontfarmersfoodcenter.org
Madison Kingsbauer, community volunteer, staffs VFFC’s Health Care Share pick-up at Rutland Community Health Center on Stratton Road in Rutland.