We initiated a new program called Farm to Clinic which provided farm fresh, locally grown produce to our patients in a farmer’s market in our waiting room. Vegetables are provided free through “produce prescriptions” earned by attending appointments. Its a great program, but labor intensive involving vegetable pick-up, sorting, storage and staffing of the market booth, preparation of a newsletter with information on the vegetables and recipes, assuring providers have the “produce prescriptions” to hand out to patients, and oversight of students. We decided to split the duties of the position and use community volunteers for coordination. The challenge was finding enough volunteers and back-up for volunteers, then the time to train the volunteers. We also use college students as interns since we’re in a college town, but this also involved time to train and these interns change every semester. After about six months working on our new model for this program we have “permanent volunteers,” a retired couple, that pick-up, sort and store the vegetables. We have another “permanent volunteer” in charge of orienting students and assuring the market booth is staffed. We only occasionally have to fill in to staff the booth and have never had to do vegetable pick-up since we started with these volunteers. Our role is now oversight of the program — purchasing vegetables, working with the community for donations, printing newsletters, etc, Our success came in meeting with staff, working with, meeting with, and training volunteers, development of a Farm to Clinic Market Training Manual for volunteers and student interns, and appointing a staff member as volunteer/intern point of contact.

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