Harrisburg, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a new incentive in low-income communities to help people get access to healthy food and it’s right here in Augusta, Ga.
The “Fruit and Veggie Prescription” program started last summer in the Harrisburg community. Now activist say the initiative is impacting more than just the health of its participants.
Besides the health benefits, the program activist also sees the benefit of education. The organization also focuses on creating connections among members of the community and their local farmers.
On Tuesday, the second wave of the initiative kicked off. The program has been expanded to all of the Garden City and includes nearly 30 men and women.
Harrisburg is one of only 25 places in the Peach State to introduce Wholesome Wave Georgia’s “Fruit and Veggie Prescription” program.
“One of the most amazing things I saw was that people who are in the community they really got passionate about food,” said Ashley Lwin, R.N. and advocate of the “Fruit and Veggie Prescription” program.
Before committing to the 5-month program, participants meet with a physician where they fill out a length survey. When filling out the survey participants answer questions about their daily food intake, their access and allowance for healthy food and their exercise routine. The information provided by the patients is used to track their improvements, but the data is also being used for research.
“One student from Emory [University] is studying more the medical aspect of it and another student from the [University of South Carolina-Aiken] U.S.C. Aiken is going to be studying more of the social effects of this program.” Lwin told WJBF News Channel 6.
Lwin worked with participants of the first wave and she says it wasn’t just a physical change she saw among individuals. “They furthered their education and became more active,” she said.
Improvements across Harrisburg can be seen in community gardens. One garden was started by a participant, of the program, after completing the first wave of “Fruit and Veggie Prescription.” A spokesperson for Wholesome Wave Georgia says in addition to improving access to healthy food, the program also aims to engage the community.
“If a small group of the community are becoming healthier as a result of the program and sharing the skills that they are learning, sharing their improved health outcomes. It has a real ripple effect and it’s creating a healthier community,” said Wholesome Wave Georgia Executive Director Sara Berney.
Through private funding Wholesome Wave Georgia is able to select individuals that will get money, $1 per day per person in their household, to buy fruits and vegetables at the Harrisburg farmers market.
The organization hopes to continue to grow the program in Augusta by finding a sustainable funding.
Harrisburg, Ga. (WJBF) – Wholesome Wave Georgia is working to make the Peach State healthier.
The organization increases access to locally farmed produced in low-income neighborhoods.
Harrisburg is one of the places the group is testing out the benefits of eating healthy through a “Fruit and Vegetable RX” program.
In 2015, Wholesome Wave Georgia started the 5-month initiative by doubling the value of food stamps at the farmers market.
The program was such a success they are doing it again this summer.
You can check out the Farmers Market in Harrisburg on Tuesday June 7th, 2016.
It is open starting at 4:30 p.m.
Harrisburg, Ga. (WJBF) – Wholesome Wave Georgia is keeping Georgians healthy through doubling the value of food stamps at local farmers markets.
The organization is testing the benefits of eating healthy right here in the C.S.R.A. For a dollar a day Wholesome Wave is proving eating fruits and vegetables has a positive impact on your body. From weight loss to eliminating your risk for chronic illnesses such as Diabetes.
“I didn’t want to live my life on medicine,” said Angela Newman, a participant.
Angela Newman was part of the first group of women from Harrisburg to participate in Wholesome Wave’s “Fruit and Veggie Rx” program. Through the 5-month program participants, meet once a month, with a healthcare professional for a complete evaluation.
“The doctor prescribes fruit and vegetables rather than maybe other prescription medications,” Marsha Jones, St. Luke United Methodist Church Director of Outreach, said.
About a year ago, Newman says was screened at the Harrisburg Family Heath Care Clinic where she was told she had many health issues.
“My blood pressure was high. My cholesterol was high. I was more over weight that I am now,” Newman told WJBF News Channel 6.
Through the Rx program Newman received $7 a week per person in her household, that she used to purchase fruits and veggies, on top of being able to double food stamp dollars at the farmers market.
“When you’re getting E.B.T. you can’t afford to.. if you’re trying to shop for the whole month… you can’t afford to buy organic vegetables.” Newman said.
Harrisburg is the first community in the state that has started the “Fruit and Veggie Rx” program and people are already seeing the success.
“For the women who participated their blood pressure lowered, they lost weight, they were healthier, they felt better,” Jones told WJBF News Channel 6.
Newman says this program has completely changed her life. She has even started a community garden behind TheClubhou.se in Augusta and say she is ready to be a mentor for the next group participants.
“I am starting a cooking class called Chopped Family Style and we are going to be teaching women how to cook,” Newman told WJBF News Channel 6.
The program is already accepting applications for the next wave of people, but space is limited. If you would like to sign up please contact Marsha Jones at 706-496-3885.