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The Delaware Food Farmacy, more than just food, its medicine

Published on 10/14/2022
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Alex Mazzei
Marketing Manager

When I first heard about the plans for the Delaware Food Farmacy, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. At that point, I had been working with LCS for a little over 2 years. I’d seen how the food pantries operate and I assumed that it would work similar to that. 

But when I joined the Farmacy team, I realized this was something entirely new. 

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It wasn’t obvious to me at first, it very much looked like what I expected from a standard food pantry. The only obvious difference was we delivered the food, InstaCart style. But as I listened to the Community Healthcare Workers from Christiana, I realized the difference wasn’t in the act of giving food to simply address hunger but instead to address health and quality of life. The Farmacy was providing the food as a means to address chronic health issues such as diabetes and hyper-tension. To use food as medicine.

This blew me away.  In retrospect, it should have been obvious. When we treat health issues that stem from poor diet, we often treat the symptoms and not the root cause.  The Delaware Food Farmacy was created to address that cause, and bring healthy food to underserved communities.

And with this new understanding, we got to work.

With the help of Christiana, we created healthy Recipes that can be distributed to our patients to encourage healthy cooking. Each recipe is reviewed for its nutritional value, the cost of the ingredients, and its approachability to a novice chef. I’m always so happy to get pictures of Preview Page meals made by our patients.

But it didn’t stop at cards. We also developed a series of videos on YouTube that demoed various recipes, various cooking techniques, and taught our patients about the different foods that they received. We even supply patients with the ingredients for a recipe once a month!

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It has been an amazing year, filled with amazing stories and people. To hear positive feedback from patients, care workers, and community partners has been so rewarding. 

But perhaps the biggest validation came from the White House. On September 28th, the Biden administration announced that it will be allocating funds to support nutrition, hunger, and health. Among other things, this program will help to improve access and affordability of food, integrate nutrition and health, and empower consumers to make and have access to healthy choices.

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While LCS will not be a direct partner of this program, we are so happy to be ahead of the curve on providing food as medicine!

And speaking of being ahead of the curve, I am also looking forward to the next steps of the Farmacy. We are already working to modify our menus for 2 new patient groups, Spanish speaking and high-risk pregnancy. The Spanish speaking menus will be available in Spanish and provide culturally relevant menu items. The high-risk pregnancy menus will include items that assist with pregnancy, breast feeding, and fetal health. 

I am so excited to continue assisting with this program and hope to share more updates with you soon!

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