Pembroke Park, Fla. — June 19, 2021 — Feeding South Florida® (FSF), the leading domestic hunger-relief organization in South Florida, is pleased to launch its Mobile FARMacy. This one-aisle, air-conditioned mobile grocery store is a hybrid of donated items, farmers’ market for-sale items, an educational unit, and food FARMacy that operates under the idea that food is medicine, providing prescription produce and other healthy food options.
With the support of Humana Inc., Aetna, and Quantum Foundation, the FARMacy’s goal is to improve health outcomes of at-risk populations. In addition to partnering with clinics and healthcare partners, the Mobile FARMacy can also travel to community events, health fairs, senior sites, and other locations.
The Mobile FARMacy makes access to fresh produce, protein, dairy, and healthy staple items a reality for food insecure individuals by:
- Providing donated and free food through the support of sponsors.
- Bringing low-cost, food bank-purchased items into communities. This option allows the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT dollars, debit cards, or cash. It also is a Fresh Access Bucks site, which means it can provide 2 for 1 produce items.
After years of research with health care partners such as Humana Inc., community needs assessments, Feeding South Florida program analysis, and evidence-based feedback from Feeding South Florida’s client services team, Feeding South Florida developed the Mobile FARMacy to address the largest barriers to accessing fresh and healthy food: transportation, food deserts, and food swamps.
The Mobile FARMacy program areas of focus include:
- Accessibility + Affordability: Farmer’s Market + Food Store ― The Mobile FARMacy brings farm-stand quality produce and other healthy foods at affordable price points to food deserts and low-income areas. It eliminates the issue of transportation. By using “purchasing power” and accepting SNAP benefits, it makes healthy food affordable.
- Health + Wellness: Food is Medicine ― Chefs and program staff demonstrate how to make tasty meals with healthy ingredients found on the truck. They offer samples and provide nutrition education, including medically-tailored recipes. Health care providers and other health organizations prescribe nutritious food as medicine. Feeding South Florida’s Client Services team take a case management approach, and assess individuals’ household financial and health needs. All food on board meets MyPlate standards and is considered “Foods to Encourage.”
- Cultural Diversity ― The Mobile FARMacy provides food selections and cooking demonstrations that speak to the history, experiences and traditions that comprise the cultural melting pot of South Florida.
- Social Isolation ― Seniors are often socially isolated, which further contributes to health complications. The FARMacy can travel to senior center and healthcare clinics where seniors are provided with transportation and have a sense of community through food, education and social interaction.
Benefits of the program include:
- Increased Dignity ― As opposed to having people stand in long lines at food distributions, the Mobile FARMacy provides an air-conditioned shopping environment that mirrors a grocery store experience with guided support, choices and variety.
- Wellness Support ― Program staff helps curate and guide the shopping experience, with a focus on healthy meal planning and good dietary choices.
- Collaboration ― Feeding South Florida is happy to work with other nonprofit partners so they can teach classes and provide food demonstrations.
- Local Focus ― Feeding South Florida is committed to working with local and state agriculture partners to provide locally sourced healthy food options.
“We are thankful and excited for the support of Humana Inc, Aetna and Quantum Foundation as we take this next innovative step toward ensuring improved health outcomes and meeting people where they are and providing a dignified,” said Sari Vatske, executive vice president of Feeding South Florida. “This project has been a true collaborative effort backed by research that supports the idea that food is medicine.”
Under COVID-19 protocols, the FARMacy is scheduled at clinical sites. To learn more about sponsoring a Mobile FARMacy location near you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Feeding South Florida®
Feeding South Florida is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks and the leading domestic hunger-relief organization serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Providing support for 25 percent of the state’s food insecure population, its mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education. Feeding South Florida distributed over 176 million pounds of food (147.5 million meals) in 2020, to over 1 million individuals through direct-service programs and a local network of more than 300 nonprofit community partners. Visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org or call 954.518.1818.