BOZEMAN - A program to bring community resources together, for those facing food insecurity in Gallatin Valley.
Food Rx was founded by Amber Barone, a registered nurse who wanted to give back to her community. The goal of Food Rx is to provide a natural approach to the treatment of chronic disease—starting with diet, nutrition, and expanding to exercises and lifestyles.
“It’s not just the food,” Barone said, “It’s a net to stabilize these patients and connect them with resources.”
Resources, like the HRDC and the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Gallatin College and their culinary program, to Montana State University’s Dietetic Internship program. Food Rx is partnering with multiple facets of the community, to address food insecurity and chronic disease in the Gallatin Valley.
Currently, 10 patients of the Community Health Partners are participating in Food Rx’s first ‘session’. Each session will last 10 months, with vitals being checked throughout the program to track progress.
“We have to think so much broader about what happens, what happens outside of the medical clinic,” CEO of Community Health Partners, Lander Cooney said.
“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand-up. It’s patients being at the brink, where they’ve had enough and they want some new alternatives, they’re hungry!” Barone said.
The program will grow into including Montana State University Dietetic Interns, to be a part of the program's progress and process.
“The Compassionate care and empathy that comes in, that’s very hard to evoke in a classroom setting,” Lindsay Ganon, Assistant Director for the Montana Dietetic Internship said.
Beginning next term, more than 20 students will have the opportunity to work with a new group of patients wishing to join Food Rx.
The goal is to provide the patients with tools and knowledge to prepare them for post-programming, Barone said. Including activities, such as heading to Gallatin College for a cooking class, will be one ‘tool’ for them to carry with them.
“We’re educating and empowering the patients to take the first steps, to build the toolbox themselves,” Barone said.