Food is Medicine

In March, LEAP staff and partners attended the Virginia Food is Medicine Summit in Richmond. We had a great two days -- learning from national and state programs, discussing Virginia policy to support Food is Medicine initiatives, and lifting up the great work happening in Roanoke.

"Food is Medicine" is a concept that focuses on integrating consistent access to diet- and nutrition- related resources as a critical component of reducing the prevalence of chronic disease.

LEAP's Executive Director Maureen McNamara Best facilitated a panel on the Continuum of Food is Medicine programs, including SNAP incentive programs (represented by Elizabeth Borst of Virginia Fresh Match), Produce Rx (represented by Rachel Burks of Carilion Clinic), Medically Tailored Groceries (Lesley McPhatter, UVA Health), and Medically Tailored Meals (John Trant, The Neighborhood Harvest).

Community partners in Roanoke have piloted and expanded Food is Medicine programs since 2011 when farmers markets started accepting and doubling SNAP/EBT. The Roanoke Produce Rx program, first piloted in 2015, was redesigned and expanded in 2023.

LEAP is excited to continue to grow Food is Medicine programs in the Roanoke region.

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