“Farm Rx”: Georgia Organics Works to Bring Food and Medicine Together.

Produce like this is increasingly available at hospitals and clinics around the United States. (Justin Sewell)

In February, Georgia Organics, the Georgia organic farmer association, hosted a conference with the theme "Farm Rx". The conference director, Alice Rolls explained on the Georgia Organics site that the belief that proper nutrition and good food are integral to healthy living is becoming more widespread, but it still hasn’t been fully embraced by more doctors. Rolls also writes that the association views the healthcare industry as one of its “best new allies.” Georgia Organics partnered with Kaiser Permanente and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to include both farmers and healthcare professionals in the “Food as Health” track. Medical professionals had the opportunity to earn continuing medical education (CME) credits. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who serves as chief medical correspondent for CNN, gave the keynote address.

The conference’s theme is part of a continuing trend of food as part of preventive medicine, as increasing numbers of United States doctors, farmers, and consumers embrace Hippocrates’ maxim, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” Kaiser Permanente and other hospital systems are trying to make fresh and healthy produce available to patients and staff through measures such as hosting farmers markets on campus. Georgia Organics’ conference embraces the idea that eating for long-term health applies not only to what people eat, but also to how the food is grown, to ensure health for the individual, communities, and the planet.

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