The team at Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in South Carolina understands the impact of fresh food to treat and prevent disease. They recently opened the VIM Clinic Farm-acy and Wellness Market with 16 Flex Farms to provide diabetic-friendly fresh food to their patients through local food banks, complementing the care they offer.
Growing an Abundance of Fresh Food
Flex Farms have the capacity to hydroponically grow significant amounts of fresh produce with minimal resources required. The hydroponic system is optimized to grow nutrient-dense leafy vegetables that support overall health and wellness. The Farm-acy will harvest lettuce, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and herbs weekly from the hydroponic systems. The 16 Flex Farms in operation have the capacity to produce 6,300 pounds of fresh food annually.
Commitment to Health
The Flex Farms have created VIM’s first consistent channel to distribute fresh food as part of its health services. Distribution of this fresh food will help address food insecurity, act as preventative medicine, and support ongoing disease treatment and management for VIM patients and community members. VIM has worked since 1993 to provide free medical and dental care to residents of Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands, and the Farm-acy expands their commitment to the health of their entire community.
“Many of our patients suffer from food insecurity, and none of our programs or medicines work optimally without good nutrition. We have consistently been able to supply non-perishable food to our patients, but when one of our local farming communities drops off fresh produce or fruits – it feels like Christmas at the Clinic. The smiles that walk out the door are incredible. We wanted to see smiles like that every day!” Dr. John Newman Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer, Volunteers in Medicine.
Benefits of the Farm-acy include:
- Food as medicine to address food insecurity
- Food as preventative medicine to encourage health and well-being
- Food as medicine in disease management and treatment
Fresh Produce 365 Days a Year
VIM clinic strives to support the community with locally grown, fresh produce 365 days a year. Along with giving the hydroponically grown produce to their patients, they are able to give fresh leafy vegetables to their community distribution partners at The Deep Well Project, Second Helpings, and Sandalwood Community Food Pantry. VIM sees the ongoing value of partnering with these organizations to maximize their efforts to better reach and serve the community. The initiative is supported and helped made possible by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
Author: Megan Pirelli, Brand Content Director Fork Farms