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Produce Becomes More Accessible with Fresh Farmacy Program

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The Local Food Hub is making produce more accessible. The Local Food Hub is making produce more accessible.
Dozens of bags of produce are filled every week. Dozens of bags of produce are filled every week.
Glenn Soulia is a participant in the program. Glenn Soulia is a participant in the program.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A program by the Local Food Hub is making healthy-eating more accessible across the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.

The Fresh Farmacy program started nearly four years ago and is a way to provide fresh produce to people in the community who may not have access to it.

“There’s a big need for it out there,” said Glenn Soulia, who is a participant in the program. “There are a lot of people that don’t know what it’s like to have fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.”

Soulia and more than 50 other participants in the program pick up the produce from the Charlottesville Free Clinic on a bi-weekly basis at no cost. The bags of produce are put together by volunteers at the Local Food Hub, who load it up with fruit and vegetables from farmers across central Virginia before they make their way to the area health clinics.

“I really enjoy bringing the whole food access just being able to produce and give food to people who don’t either have access to it in food deserts or don’t have the income,” said Brianna Eichorn of the Local Food Hub.

Apartment-style housing and public transportation make it difficult for people like Soulia to get to the store or grow their own fresh produce.

“We know that healthy nutrition is an important part of managing all chronic diseases, whether it’s diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol,” said nurse practitioner Tish Polgar-Baily.

The Local Food Hub also includes recipes in every bag, giving people a chance to try new flavors.

“It’s been beneficial to my wife and I because it’s something that we don’t have to worry about, just something else the Free Clinic has offered us,” said participant Richard Shackelord.

Staff members at the Charlottesville Free Clinic said they are hoping to expand their Fresh Farmacy program so that next year, more people will be able to receive the fresh produce.