Food As Medicine is a program that will increase access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs as food and medicine in a low-income community. The goals are:
- Increase knowledge and awareness of the uses and health benefits of fresh, organically grown, fruits, vegetables and herbs among low-income community members.
- Improve the health and well being of targeted California Hotel residents who have or are at risk for high blood pressure.
- Build trust and strengthen community among residents, garden staff, and medical professionals.
- Foster resilience and self-determination among residents of the California Hotel, promoting self-care and self-love as a form of resistance.
Food as Medicine began in October 2015 in partnership with EBALDC, Lifelong Medical, and the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC). Participants are given access to consultations with a nurse practitioner from Lifelong Medical, who concludes consultations with a personal prescription of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. The residents then fill their prescriptions with People's Grocery, from produce in the garden. Participants receive a weekly produce bag or prepared food, along with a recipe and/or information related to managing their high blood pressure. In addition, participants gathered three times during the three-month pilot with a community meal around the mid point. The community breakfast provided an opportunity for residents to discuss issues around food justice and to share successes and challenges of the program. Lastly, Food As Medicine also includes documenting blood pressure at weekly clinics.