Fruit, vegetable prescriptions available for North County residents

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Local organizations are teaming up to provide a fruit and vegetable prescription program to low-income residents.

According to a press release from Cornell Cooperative Extension in Jefferson County, many people in need of food assistance simultaneously struggle with conditions associated with overeating because of being overfed yet undernourished. A cause of this is not having access to healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

The fruit and vegetable prescription initiative, also known as FVRX, works to address food insecurity and hunger through access to high-quality foods for those in need. The initiative was made possible through the combined efforts of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County’s SNAP-Ed program, Fidelis Care, North Country Family Health Care Center, and Save-a-Lot.

Fidelis Care Health Insurance will provide the funds for patients at the North Country Family Health Center to be screened by their primary care provider for eligibility. If they qualify, patients will receive a “prescription” for up to $120 worth of free fruits and vegetables.

The “prescription” will also give patients the option to attend weekly nutrition workshops with a SNAP-Ed nutritionist from Cornell Cooperative Extension. The workshops will include a cooking demonstration, healthy recipes, and other resources to help participants reach the goal of making half their plate fruits and vegetables at every meal.

For every workshop, patients attend they will receive a $20 voucher that is redeemable for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables at Save-a-Lot grocery store on State Street in Watertown. There are six workshops available, giving patients the opportunity to receive $120 in vouchers.

SNAP-Ed has already graduated its first four patients through the FVRX program and plans to continue to offer weekly workshops right at the CCE office, just down the road from Save-a-Lot, for as long as funding remains available.

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