April 12, 2019

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Helping Rhode Island Communities Connect to Healthier Foods Through Collaboration

Everywhere you look, there seems to be new healthy food trends and different types of nutritious diets. But for far too many people, especially those living in low-income communities, eating healthy is simply out of reach. Finding fresh food means either traveling significant distances or paying excessive prices for low-quality produce, making healthy choices unaffordable and unattainable. Without access to healthy foods, communities across the nation, including here in Rhode Island, face risks such as obesity or other chronic health 

issues. As concerns grow over the worsening obesity epidemic, our first step in facing this crisis starts with helping Rhode Islanders access fresh, locally grown food.

 

At Farm Fresh Rhode Island, we provide a variety of programs and services aimed at connecting the community with local farmers and food producers. For the past 13 years, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has partnered with us, initially by sponsoring our farmers markets and offering free health screenings, and most recently by providing the financial support for our interactive food and nutrition workshops.

 

As a local food hub, Farm Fresh Rhode Island aims to help improve every aspect of the local food system—which is the path food travels from growing and harvesting to processing, packaging, transporting, selling, eating and disposing of food. With Rhode Island's flourishing food scene, surrounding states' farmland, and shorter distances for food to travel, we've been able to model a sustainable and healthy system to connect farmers and eaters in the New England region.

 

Our focus extends to both ends of the system—starting with farmers and ending with consumers. Our Market Mobile and Veggie Box programs help New England farmers, fisher people and small businesses reach more customers. The Market Mobile wholesale distribution service allows food producers to price and sell their own local goods online to wholesale buyers, including restaurants, institutions, grocery stores, buying clubs, and schools. The platform provides advantages for both parties. Local farmers receive resources from us to promote and deliver their goods, while wholesalers have direct access to fresh, loca