RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Joy Carrington travels downtown three times a week for occupational therapy following a stroke. She’s making great strides in the hospital but also finds some of the best medicine at a farm stand at the corner of College and Marshall Streets.
“It just helps me. I’m eating better, the fresh produce,” Carrington explains that she lost 34 pounds since she started adding fruits and vegetables of every shape, size and color to her diet.
The farm stand is the brainchild of VCU Massey Cancer Center and Tricycle Gardens, which says it is committed to growing a healthy community through healthy food.
“We know that this population, those that are receiving treatment, need healthy fresh local produce to help with the healing process for whatever ailment they are suffering from,” says Sequoia Ross of Tricycle Gardens, in between assisting customers with their purchases.
Adds Becky Massey, a volunteer and patient advocate at the Cancer Center, “It’s the number one question and point of interest from our patients once they are diagnosed with cancer. It’s, ‘What can I do to prevent a recurrence, how can I get through my journey being more healthy than I am?'”‘
Twice a month the stand serves patients. Many of them live in food deserts. Many of them are on lower incomes. Through a grant from McKesson, anyone who uses SNAP/EBT benefits receives double the amount of produce.
“Your body needs those to get better. It’s part of the healing process,” says Roberta Zelenko, who is volunteering at the stand.
Zelenko is three years out of her breast cancer treatment and knows the farm stand is a welcome sign for anyone going through chemotherapy.
“You have terrible tastes in your mouth,” she remembers. “The only thing that I wanted to eat were fresh fruits and vegetables.”
The nutrition feeds the body, mind and soul of patients who need support.
“We know that it is needed in the community,” says Ross.
The next three dates for the farm stand have been released:
Wednesday, August 19
Wednesday, September 2
Tuesday, September 15
It opens at 10 a.m on each date at the corner of College and Marshall Streets, in front of VCU Massey Cancer Center.