ASAP pilots Farm Fresh Prescription Program

Press release from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project:

As part of its Farm Fresh for Health initiative, ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) will pilot a Farm Fresh Prescription Program at ASAP Farmers Market beginning this month. In tandem, ASAP is promoting May as Wellness Month at area farmers markets. Seven farmers markets, in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Madison counties, will host health and wellness vendors and offer free activities and resources in events scheduled throughout the month.

Farm Fresh for Health is a farm-centered initiative designed to connect people to environments and activities that support healthy lifestyles and eating choices. Shopping at farmers markets encourages us to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, cook meals at home, and eat together with friends and family.

With the Farm Fresh Prescription Program, participating physicians can prescribe a farmers market visit to their patients. Patients redeem their prescription at ASAP Farmers Market and receive $10 to spend at the market (with seven “refills,” for a total of $80). The prescription incentive provides healthcare providers with action steps that fit within the healthcare process. Six physicians from two practices in Asheville (The Family Health Centers and Lantern Health) will participate in the 2021 pilot. An earlier pilot, begun in January of 2020, was interrupted by the pandemic. ASAP plans to expand the program to include additional markets and health practices in the future.

“The idea of prescribing healthy food/eating to patients is gaining momentum and the recognition it deserves as immensely important in optimizing the long-term health of patients,” said Dr. Ben Aiken of Lantern Health. “Being able to do so by connecting them to local food and community is a win-win.”

Wellness Month activities range from kids yoga and community workouts to cooking demos to health screenings and chiropractic evaluations. Find details about vendors and events for specific markets on the follow page or on ASAP’s community events calendar at Participating markets are:

ASAP Farmers Market, May 22, 9 a.m. to noon
Enka-Candler Tailgate Market, May 27, 3 to 6 p.m.
Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market, May 22, 9 a.m. to noon
Hendersonville Farmers Market, May 22, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mars Hill Farmers and Artisans Market, May 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mills River Farmers Market, May 8, 15, 22, 29, 8 a.m. to noon
Weaverville Farmers Market, May 19, 2 to 5 p.m.

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