Healthier ATL through Food as Medicine program

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Eating fruits and veggies goes hand-in-hand with health. When doctors at Atlanta’s Grady Health System saw low-income patients struggle with diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure, they sought an affordable nutrition solution. They found it in an innovative and low-tech program that prescribes fresh fruits and vegetables to patients. Now, the Food as Medicine partnership, spearheaded by Grady, is a collaboration between the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Open Hand Atlanta and Wholesome Wave Georgia. Individuals with chronic, diet-related diseases receive free food from participating farmers markets, attend cooking and nutrition classes and set healthy eating goals. Grady patients — about 50 percent of whom are food insecure — access fresh ingredients and learn how to prepare healthy meals. Funding from Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta donors and a $100,000 Strategic Restructuring Fund grant in 2018, has helped grow the program from 30 participants in 2016 to 150 individuals in 2018 representing 375 household members. Soon, a facility on Grady’s main campus will offer a pharmacy stocked with fresh, local produce, a teaching kitchen, onsite nutrition services and a cafe with ready-to-eat meals. In three years, the program expects to have more than 510 patients, or 1,530 household members. Their future, and their kids’ future, will be healthier.

This story was originally shared in our 2018 Annual Report. To read the full report, click here.