Coming May 2017 to a Neighborhood Near You!
In May, Virtua will launch a new and innovative program to address food insecurity and hunger in our patient community. The overarching goal of the Virtua Mobile Farmers Market Program is to provide better access to nutritious, fresh produce in our underserved communities. Virtua is also proud to partner with Whole Foods Markets to be the exclusive provider of produce.
As part of Virtua’s mission to help our patient community Be Well, Get Well and Stay Well, this program will operate as a community benefit initiative. Research supports the correlation of poor health and food insecurity especially in low income communities. In New Jersey, 1,151,890 people live in food-insecure households. (Source: Map the Meal Gap, Feeding America and Community Food Bank of New Jersey, 2014.)
Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
- In Burlington County, it is estimated that over 50,000 people live in food insecure households.
- In Camden County, it is estimated that over 70,000 people live in food insecure households.
In an effort to lessen this issue, Virtua will offer this program to promote access to healthy options and to help reduce chronic disease issues in our community such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high-cholesterol and other related conditions.
Fast Facts about the Virtua Mobile Farmers Market:
- The Virtua Mobile Farmers Market Program will serve residents in Burlington and Camden counties.
- The Market will offer affordable access to produce to families who can greatly benefit from this program. The market will operate year-round.
- The program will measure success by surveying patrons on behavior change such as eating habits, recipes/nutrition and other health and wellness metrics.
- The Virtua Mobile Farmers Market will sell items at a deeply reduced cost and will accept SNAP benefits. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
- As a health system, Virtua will address the needs of the entire family and not only an individual. Three bag-size choices are offered to our patrons based on the number of people in the family or household. Small, medium or large bags are offered and our policy is to fill to the top for a price-fixed option.
- Customers who shop with the Virtua Mobile Farmers Market receive a calendar, recipe tips and health information in English and Spanish along with their produce.
- Virtua works in partnership with its Registered Dieticians to provide health education and nutrition information to support the work of the initiative.
Take a fresh step for your health and visit the mobile farmers market bus, selling affordable fresh fruits and vegetables at select locations.