Lorraine Dufour Lorraine is a freelance Canadian copywriter for sustainable businesses.

How The Farmers’ Truck Is Leading the Way in the Food As Medicine Movement

4 min read

Food-As-Medicine-Chicago

Everyone knows that the Super Bowl isn’t won by just one football player. It is a huge team effort. Not only by the players, but also by their support team of therapists, coaches, and so on.

The same can be said for our healthcare system. Preventing diseases and treating health issues takes a team effort. Patients, healthcare staff, insurance companies, and all levels of government all have a part to play in ensuring our communities are healthy and happy.

With the growing awareness of the Food As Medicine movement, the need for more experts to join the healthcare team is increasing. The need is for those who specialize in healthy food access and food security.

Read on to discover how The Farmers’ Truck can help your team to realize programs such as produce prescriptions. We want to help make the food as medicine movement a reality across the country. We are, after all, one big team, aren’t we?

Healthy Food Should Be Our Medicine

Food As Medicine

For thousands of years, food was our medicine. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” Hippocrates wrote over two thousand years ago. Consuming the food that nature provided freely has helped humans thrive for millennia.

So what happened to us these last few decades? Why are we so unhealthy, even though advances in food technology and medicine have come so far?

The problem is our modern world and the age of fast, cheap, and processed foods. It’s cheap and easy to produce, can feed the masses, and is very profitable. So, instead of keeping us healthy, the food many of us can now easily access and consume is killing us. As a result, poor nutrition is costing our healthcare system billions of dollars every year.

The Unfortunate Result of Poor Nutrition

Food As Medicine

One of the main causes of chronic diseases is poor nutrition. Over the last couple of decades, the rates of chronic diseases in the U.S. have skyrocketed and are crushing our healthcare system.1

Marginalized and underrepresented populations face higher rates of chronic disease. This is partly because they are more food insecure. They lack access (physical, financial, or otherwise) to the healthy foods that are needed to prevent them from becoming chronically ill.2

This is why we at The Farmers’ Truck are strong advocates of the Food As Medicine movement, and especially, produce prescription programs.

Fresh Produce Is the New Black

Food As Medicine

Remember when you were a kid and fanny packs were cool? And now all the kids are wearing them again.  Well, we think it’s time that healthy food as medicine makes a comeback too. And we’re happy to be a driving force for change in this movement (the healthy food…not the fanny packs).

The 2022 National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health recognizes the vital role that nutrition plays in health, by listing it as one of its main pillars. It underscores the importance of healthy food as a tool for disease prevention and maintenance.3

We are strong supporters of this notion. More emphasis on the prevention and maintenance of disease can reduce healthcare costs significantly.

Our partners across the country have witnessed firsthand how much of an impact increased access to fruits and vegetables can have on people’s health. It is for these reasons that we’ve made it our mission to bring fresh, healthy food to underserved communities across the nation.

Mobile Farmers’ Markets and Produce Prescriptions

Food As Medicine

Produce prescription programs are such a great way to increase access to fruits and vegetables for those who need them most.4 That’s why they are named as an action item in The 2022 National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health…and by the way, so are mobile produce markets.3

So, what exactly are mobile produce markets and how do they fit into the food as medicine movement, and more specifically, with produce prescriptions? Let’s explore.

Mobile markets, sometimes referred to as mobile farmers’ markets or mobile produce markets, are exactly what they sound like: they are farmers’ markets on wheels.

The idea is to make it easier for everyone, regardless of where they live, to access fresh, healthy foods. We bring the food right to you!

Food As Medicine

We work closely with many different types of organizations with an interest in food security and food access. And you can find our trucks in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the country.

Every community and organization is different. So, we tailor our products, services, and training to meet their unique needs.

Our community partners include food pantries, food banks, urban farms, and others. Mobile markets take place at religious, community, and healthcare centers, schools, seniors’ residences, and anywhere else people gather.

With their colorful display of fresh produce and smiling staff, people are naturally curious about what mobile markets have to offer. Because of their inviting nature and sense of inclusivity (everyone is always welcome!) any hesitations some might feel about receiving food assistance disappears.

Because mobile markets are community-driven, many operators offer additional services such as nutrition education, recipe cards, assistance with SNAP enrolment, and more.

Much like our healthcare system, operating a mobile market is a team effort in which the entire community benefits.

Produce Prescription Programs – The Farmers’ Truck Style

Food As Medicine

When it comes to produce prescriptions, The Farmers’ Truck firmly believes that mobile market programs make ideal partners for those organizations who are looking for innovative and efficient ways to deliver their programs.

Our Sales and Marketing Manager, James Mallory, explains: “Our mobile markets provide the ideal location for accessing produce prescriptions. By collaborating with healthcare providers, food banks, and local organizations, these mobile markets serve as hubs for health, education, and community building.”

Mobile produce markets make it much easier for people to access fresh fruits and vegetables with the flexibility of being able to operate where folks live, work, and play. Common barriers to food access, such as transportation or mobility issues, are mitigated when there is a mobile produce market in your community.

Dieticians, nurses, and doctors can partner up with mobile market operators for demonstrations, and presentations, and to educate people on the importance of consuming fresh produce and how to prepare them.

Mobile market operators can assist in the planning and implementation of produce prescription programs by tailoring their operations (such as payment processing systems, etc…) to suit the needs of the program.

That is the beauty of having a mobile produce market – they’re flexible and adaptable.

The Farmers’ Truck – Leaders in Healthy Food Access

Food As Medicine

Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is a right and not a privilege, and we want to make sure that everyone gets to exercise that right. It is also paramount in helping to reduce healthcare costs and in easing the healthcare crisis in which we find ourselves.

The Farmers’ Truck has been working hand-in-hand with community-based organizations across the U.S. for years to improve food access. It is these organizations that have historically been the ones to offer free or discounted produce to those in need.

We are proud to be their partners in food access and food security for all, and we would be honored to be yours too. Contact us today to see how together we can make the Food As Medicine movement a reality in your community.

Resources:

  1. Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases | CDC 
  2. Hunger and Health | Feeding America 
  3. BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL STRATEGY ON HUNGER, NUTRITION, AND HEALTH | The White House 

Impact of Produce Prescriptions on Diet, Food Security, and Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes: A Multisite Evaluation of 9 Produce Prescription Programs in the United States | Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes

Lorraine Dufour Lorraine is a freelance Canadian copywriter for sustainable businesses.

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