Walton County’s First Food Rx Program Completed by Resource Court Referrals – Your Local News

Walton Wellness looks to the future as it addresses food sustainability, insecurity and literacy

MONROE, GA. – August 1, 2022 – As the fanfare for mental health sounds across the country, Walton Wellness completes Walton County’s first Mental Health Food Rx program with referrals from the Walton County Resource Court.

The Food Rx program uses the power of the written recipe to create a cognitive connection between healthy habits, nutrition and well-being in participants.

“The opportunities for our attendees to learn more about the relationship between healthy eating and physical health, and to learn practical cooking skills and techniques to emphasize healthy food choices are invaluable. Physical well-being has a direct impact on self-confidence and psychological well-being. Walton Wellness provides a safe and comfortable learning environment through Food Rx, which is another important resource in helping our participants thrive in life,” said Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster, chairman of the Walton County Resource Court.

The Food RX program offers nutrition education, cooking classes and access to complimentary products for Resource Court recommended participants.

Each Food Rx cohort is together for six months. The first three months are spent in a combination of nutrition education and cooking classes. Alex Lundy, Health Education Coordinator at Walton Wellness, along with Sous Chef Rosalind Simmons, will educate attendees on healthy eating and cooking.

During the three-month educational component, participants are provided with all the ingredients for recipes they have practiced in class. This helps with retention, adherence, and integration of the new foods and practices learned in class. After three months of classes, participants will be switched to their product recipes provided by The Field Garden twice a month for the remaining three months of the program.

“I just got home and went through the bags of veggies and herbs and I want to thank you again for all your hard work and dedication in teaching the classes and picking the fresh produce and giving of your hard work and time to help others. And now I’m making my son and I some salad for dinner and some other veggies,” said a recent participant.

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“The goal of our FoodRx program is to increase the knowledge and implementation of healthy eating habits, healthy cooking methods and new recipes, fresh herbs and spices, while reducing food insecurity. By combining nutrition education, hands-on cooking classes and the provision of free and healthy food, we enable our participants to make real lifestyle changes over the course of an interactive and supportive six-month program. Using this type of program design in collaboration with the mental health services and holistic case management that the Walton County Resource Court provides is truly innovative and we are very excited to be part of this partnership in Walton County,” said Alex Lundy, Health Education Coordinator for Walton Wellness.

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In 2022, the use of The Field Garden on the grounds of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office was expanded to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to a mental health cohort, as well as a physician-referral cohort for patients diagnosed with a Lifestyle chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The garden is operated by Walton Wellness, Inc. and, with the help of Walton County inmates, is able to reap a donation each year.

“For this cohort, Walton Wellness aims to increase knowledge of healthy recipes, cooking skills and the use of fresh herbs and spices, as well as self-reported evidence of an increase in cooking with fresh ingredients at home and a decrease in regular consumption of processed ones ingredient foods,” said DeDe Harris, executive director, Walton Wellness, Inc.

Walton Wellness, Inc. is considering a program expansion. In a few months, Walton Wellness’ second Food Rx cohort for 2022 will also be complete with participants referred by local clinicians.

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