VNA Health Care & City of Aurora partner on FreshFirst program at the Aurora Farmers Market

VNA Health Care and City of Aurora are partnering again on Fresh First, a program introduced last year at the Aurora Farmers Market to promote healthy eating. Fresh First is a fun way for children to learn about the health benefits of eating fresh produce. It gives both children and adults the opportunity to try new vegetables and fruits, and to pledge to try their best to eat healthy during the program.

Everyone is welcome to visit the FreshFirst booth at Aurora’s Farmers Market on Saturdays. Anyone who takes advantage of the free samples of the fruit or vegetable of the week and fruit-infused water will receive an “I Got FRESH Today!” sticker to show their commitment to healthier eating habits. Visitors can also pick up free recipes using the fresh produce available at the Market.

“We are excited about this partnership with City of Aurora and hope to inspire everyone who visits our booth at Aurora’s Farmers Market to try new fruits and vegetables and look for ways to incorporate these healthy choices into their everyday diet,” said Ann Cheverton, Vice President of Care Coordination and Clinical Innovation at VNA Health Care.

Through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentives grant and a Fit for Kids grant through the Kane County Health Department, VNA is able to offer a free FreshFirst program to patients. Targeted patients include children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. Participants in the grant-funded program receive a weekly prescription for fruits and vegetables worth $10 to redeem at any of Aurora’s Farmers Markets, including a small “Pop-Up” market held at VNA, 400 N. Highland Avenue in Aurora on Wednesdays, July 8 through September 30 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. The patients also receive free group education and cooking demonstrations offered in VNA’s Healthy Lifestyle Center and Kitchen at 400 N. Highland Avenue in Aurora. Through education, a meal log, monitoring and family support, participants are encouraged to change their eating habits and learn to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their diet. VNA tracks their patient’s weights and measurements throughout their participation in the program.

The Fresh First program benefits the Aurora community by nourishing the consumer, boosting farmers’ revenue and supporting the overall health of our community. In 2014, the program was named “A Friend of the Industry” by the Illinois Office of the Comptroller for its dedication to the field of Agri-Tourism. Through partnerships such as Fresh First, VNA Health Care demonstrates our commitment to providing health services to meet the unique needs in the communities we serve.

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