Veggie Rx expands to Eastern Oregon

Food insecure residents of rural Oregon can now access fresh fruits and vegetables. Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI), with the assistance of Gorge Grown Food Network, has launched the Frontier Veggie Prescription (or Veggie Rx) program in Sherman, Gilliam and Harney counties.

The Veggie Rx program will work to address food insecurity in the region by providing vouchers to low-income community members that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables.

Under the program, healthcare and social service providers will identify patients who suffer from food insecurity (hunger) through a questionnaire. The providers will then write a prescription that patients will fill at farmers’ markets and grocery stores throughout the region.

Frontier Veggie Rx is funded through the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization. The Local Community Advisory Councils of Harney, Gilliam, and Sherman counties voted to allocate funding through Veggie Rx for fresh fruits and vegetables to those that need food most.

“We’re excited to take on Frontier Veggie Rx,” said Marci McMurphy, GOBHI business development project manager. “The Local Community Advisory Councils have led the way — now as a contracted administrator we’re helping to carry out their vision of addressing food insecurity in rural Oregon with a truly local-centric approach.”

Kate Karlson, Veggie Rx program manager for Gorge Grown, said, “We have been working closely with GOBHI for the past year on developing their own Veggie Rx program and we are pleased to see it launch this summer. We have really appreciated working with GOBHI and applaud their commitment to reducing food insecurity in these rural communities.”

Gorge Grown Food Network, Oregon State University Extension, and partners throughout Oregon will be helping connect rural grocers with local farmers.

“Veggie Rx not only provides the freshest, most nutritious local produce to our hungry neighbors, but it creates a new market and demand that allows local farmers and small grocery stores to thrive,” said Sarah Sullivan, Gorge Grown’s executive director.

“We’re really excited about the economic development that the expansion of Veggie Rx will bring to Oregon’s most rural communities,” she said.

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