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Using Food as Medicine in San Francisco

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October 9th, 2019

By Plenty Farms

At Plenty, we know that good food holds great power — the power to heal and sustain, the power to create traditions, and bring communities together. In creating our vertical indoor farms and calling upon all the technological, engineering, and scientific advances at our disposal, it is Plenty’s mission to bring power back to food, growing cleaner, fresher, more delicious produce than ever before thought possible. Because the better our food is, the better humanity can be.

 

“Food as medicine” is a growing movement in the United States, and we’re excited to highlight the work of the Food as Medicine Collaborative and Project Open Hand, two organizations who are leading that charge right here in the Bay Area. These organizations not only recognize the healing power of nutritious, cravable produce, but have been working hard to create democratized access to this valuable resource for years. And it is with this shared ethos that Plenty proudly forges two new partnerships with the Food as Medicine Collaborative’s Food Pharmacy program and Project Open Hand.

 

Plenty employee standing in the Project Open Hands kitchen on Polk Street in San Francisco.

 

Food Pharmacies at the SF-Marin Food Bank

One of the foundational elements in Plenty’s mission to restore human health is growing fresh produce so delicious and nutrient-dense that any human can be just as happy to reach for a bowl of strawberries over a sleeve of cookies; to experience arugula with a flavor so punchy it makes their mouth water even more than a potato chip. Good food is an essential part of good health, which means not only offering people access to healthy food, but also providing them with the skills, education, and desire to eat well. 

Volunteer at Food Pharmacies at the SF-Marin Food Bank

 

Food Pharmacies provide free, healthy groceries, cooking and nutrition education, and connections to additional food resources like EatSF and CalFresh to more than 200 patients each week who have been referred by their doctors. They collaborate with healthcare providers so that patients can take part in Food Pharmacies’ weekly farmer’s marker-style pantries, located inside the clinics where they receive medical care. Plenty is partnering with Food Pharmacies to offer the highest quality produce from our San Francisco farm because we share the belief that equal access to more delicious, nutrient-dense food is a huge step toward equal access to health.

 

Project Open Hands chef preparing Plenty greens as a fresh salad option for the day.

 

Because at Plenty, we don’t just believe that good food can contribute to good health — we believe that good health starts with good food. That’s why we admire the way Project Open Hand treats food as the valuable medicine it is, improving health outcomes and quality of life by providing nutritious meals to the sick and vulnerable of our shared community

 

As a partner of the Food is Medicine Coalition, Project Open Hand serves clients with critical illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and breast cancer, as well as seniors and adults with disabilities fighting hunger. In 2018, Project Open Hand served 1,054,328 meals, each one medically-tailored to help their medical provider-referred clients to heal, recover, and go on to lead healthier lives than ever before. Plenty shares in this mission to create access to the best possible health for the most vulnerable among us; that’s why we’re eager for Project Open Hand to begin incorporating the highest-quality produce into their healing meals, straight from their local Plenty farm.

 

It’s clear from their inspiring work in the San Francisco community that the Food as Medicine Collaborative and Project Open Hand believe, as we do, in the power of food — not just in theory, but in years and years of practice. In creating partnerships with these valuable organizations, we know that we’re one step closer to our mission to restore human health across the globe. And it all starts right here in San Francisco. 

Velvet Spice and Sweet Sunrise being prepared for the day’s fresh salad option.

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