What Is Farm Fresh for Health?
Farm Fresh for Health is ASAP’s farm-centered approach to improving the health and wellbeing of our community and supporting local economies. The project builds on the idea that local food systems are intrinsically connected to community health—economic, social, and physical. Local food and farm interactions—cooking classes, farm visits, shopping at farmers markets, or participating in a CSA—encourage us to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, get outside, cook more at home, and eat together with friends and families. All of this has the potential to make us a healthier, happier community.
Farm Fresh for Health offers preventive health strategies that can be implemented across day-to-day social settings to encourage behavior change. Creating positive food and farm experiences, builds a social context that reinforces healthy food choices. Engaging health partners in leverage positions—like physicians, school nutritionists, and healthcare leaders—we can shift the current system.
Find Out More About
ASAP’s Farm Fresh Produce Prescription
Working with ASAP, healthcare providers can prescribe fresh fruits and vegetables to their patients in order to help treat or prevent diet-related illness. Patients redeem their prescription at local farmers markets or through a local produce delivery service or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. Find out more about ASAP’s Farm Fresh Produce Prescription, including participating producers, farmers markets, and more.
Workplace CSAs and Wellness Programs
ASAP can help employers set up local food and farm-related wellness programs and benefits. For instance, with a workplace CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), employees sign on as a group to purchase weekly “shares” of a farm’s harvest. The farmer is able to deliver boxes of produce and other farm good directly to your place of business. Learn more about workplace CSAs. Listen to an episode of “Growing Local” about a workplace CSA and employee wellness program at the City of Asheville. For more information about workplace CSAs, contact Sarah Minter.
Resources for Schools and Preschools
ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program offers numerous resources for local food education and experiences for preschool to high school age kids. The Growing Minds website features lesson plans, recipes, a searchable database of local food and farm children’s literature, and more. Growing Minds also provides seeds for school gardens, grants, and promotional materials. Visit the Growing Minds website for a full picture of available resources.
Recipes & Cooking Demos
ASAP partners with community health professionals to produce cooking demos and recipes to help community members shop at farmers markets and get the most out of seasonal products. Watch the demos and download recipes for free.
Past Conferences & Events
Throughout the summer and fall of 2022, ASAP convened health professionals and advocates for a series of Farm Fresh for Health Regional Symposiums designed to introduce key strategies and highlight how ASAP and communities across the region are creating a culture of healthy eating through connections to local food and farms.
In 2018, ASAP presented Healthy Eating in Practice, a national conference for physicians and other healthcare professionals. The conference focused on changing the culture of healthcare to better support healthy eating behaviors and offered experiential farm education alongside medical expertise.
Implementing Farm Fresh for Health
Farm Fresh for Health can be implemented across a variety of social settings, often with simple changes to existing programs. The following are strategies ASAP has identified. ASAP can work with individuals or groups to provide support for starting projects or building existing programs around these strategies.
- Clinical Settings: produce prescriptions, wellness workshops, distributing local food info (such as ASAP’s print Local Food Guide), local food giveaways
- Community Hubs: classes/support groups, food relief efforts, community gardens
- Schools/Preschools: experiential garden activities, classroom cooking, taste tests, farm field trips, local food in cafeteria meals
- Workplaces: workplace CSAs, farmers market vouchers for employees, local food lunches, farm field trips or activities with staff
- Farmers Markets: SNAP incentive programs (like Double SNAP or Double Up Food Bucks), cooking demos/tastings, recipes
- Farms: experiential farm activities, like tours or u-pick, community events, connections to physical recreation, such as trail access
Key Elements of Farm Fresh for Health
- Centers local food
- Nurtures positive food environments
- Prioritizes under-represented, under-resourced, and historically marginalized communities
- Interdisciplinary and intersectional (engages multiple, diverse stakeholders to accomplish overlapping and interrelated goals)