FarmboxRx is dedicated to changing the way our healthcare system approaches member wellness and disease prevention by pioneering innovative food engagement solutions across the country. We use healthy foods and nutrition education as a vehicle for change, and strongly believe with the right resources anyone can support a higher quality of life. This is why accessible and affordable food solutions paired with personalized health literacy are at the core of what we do here at FarmboxRx. With our home-delivered food solutions and nutrition education, we support sustainable, scalable, and long-lasting quality outcomes by meeting patients where they are.
In a study with Molina Healthcare of New Mexico utilizing FarmboxRx as an incentive for enrollees, nearly 300 beneficiaries agreed to participate in the 6-month long Health Outcomes & Fresh Grocery Delivery program. Each month, the program rewards its members with a fresh produce box upon completion of activities that aim to increase member participation, improve health outcomes, and make nutritious fresh foods more accessible to those in rural areas, food deserts, and/or living with mobility issues. Results concluded with 98% member satisfaction, improved engagement for office visits, lab completion, and vaccinations by 95%, and 6 times the amount of member engagement by FarmboxRx participants versus non-participants. Each box contains seasonal, farm-fresh produce and a new FarmboxRx Living Magazine filled with tips, easy recipes, and activities for a healthy lifestyle. Recently, the Farmbox team sat down with two Molina members to better understand their experiences with mobility limitations in food deserts and how they benefit from receiving fresh foods from FarmboxRx. Our at-home-delivery solutions make a big difference in the lives of individuals like Julian and Cecelia who struggle with food accessibility giving them easy access to nutritious foods and improving health literacy for healthier living, especially during the pandemic which is a challenge for so many.
Together, we are making a difference, one home at a time.
Interview with Julian
FarmboxRx: Let’s talk about not having transportation. How do you go grocery shopping and how often?
Julian: How do I go grocery shopping? Well, I’ve got a good friend that will take me to the grocery store about once a month. Occasionally I’ll catch a ride with one of the neighbors here.
FarmboxRx: Let’s talk about what are the closest food options here around where you live? How far is a grocery store?
Julian: Well, the other side of the highway is the Chevron truck stop that I understand now has been converted into like a mini grocery store, but I’ve never been there. Not since it was converted. Then across the street at the NTS truck stop, they sell like soda pops, stuff like that and prepared burritos. You have a little further down the Family Dollar store and the General Dollar, whatever it’s called, that also sells nothing but junk food. Del Cerro over there has a little tiny grocery store that also has a meat market, but I very seldom go there. The closest grocery store would be about 15 miles going north to Las Cruces and maybe 16/17 going south towards Anthony, in Anthony.
FarmboxRx: When you go to the grocery store once a month, what are you purchasing?
Julian: I generally make my grocery list depending on what I project to be on the menu for the upcoming weeks. I purchase ingredients. I do not buy a box of pancake mix or prepackaged, precooked, stick-in-the-oven stuff. What I do is I generally buy fresh vegetables and meats and very little canned goods. I hardly don’t buy any canned goods. I make my own bread, make my own flour tortilla so I buy ingredients.
FarmboxRx: Molina Healthcare has provided you with a great way to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables from Farmbox. Can you talk to me about that?
Julian: Right. I found the Farmbox brochure in the mail, of course, and it stirred my curiosity, but I hesitated for a bit. Then I finally gave it a call because curiosity got the best of me. I spoke with a person that was very helpful and yes we did. They sent out the first box, which I was happy with. I mean, they took an extreme amount of care in packaging it. It was nice and cool.
FarmboxRx: Great. I’m happy to hear that. Describe Farmbox to me in a few words. Do you see a difference in your overall eating pattern since receiving Farmbox?
Julian: Farmbox, very fresh vegetables. I think my first box was kale and two different types of squash, a jumbo onion, three oranges, three apples, three pears. I think some celery. It was… Well, I say, it arrived nice and fresh and they were good. I enjoyed them. I was glad they also added a brochure in the box, which had some suggestions for recipes, for things like kale, which is not something I normally cook. But yes, I … Because I didn’t want them to spoil so I did … Like I said earlier, even the squash I prepared in a healthier way other than calabacitas con queso so much.
FarmboxRx: Okay. Would you say that Farmbox is a vehicle, if you will, to eating healthier for you having mobility issues and living in a food desert?
Julian Sandoval: Yes. I would say that it’s a vehicle for me eating healthier. I mean, they arrive at your door, right? Like I did the last time, I didn’t want to waste them, so I used them. Sure, it makes a difference.
FarmboxRx: If you knew someone that had a preexisting condition or had mobility issues, would you recommend Farmbox to them?
Julian: Of course, I would. I mean, I was glad to see this, like I say, when I saw the brochure, because of the fact that I can’t just get in a vehicle and run down to the grocery store whenever I need to. When you go once a month, yes, some of your vegetables are going to spoil, at least they do in my refrigerator. I would recommend Farmbox to anybody, with or without mobility issues, especially if you live out of town, like I do, because it is not like you can run to the Wednesday morning farmer’s market or something. Like I said, they arrive at home, fresh and yes, recommend it. Sure do it.
Interview with Cecelia
FarmboxRx: Tell me, what is Molina?
Cecelia: Molina is a provider that I’ve been under for about five years, I believe. They’re people who care. I’m covered under Molina, of course, but they also contributed to my ramp, which was essential for my walking and for my wheelchair when I was in the wheelchair.
FarmboxRx: There’s a lot of added benefits it sounds like that come with being with Molina. One of these added benefits is this box. Can you tell me a little bit about the added benefit that Molina provides you with this Farmbox?
Cecelia: Well, it’s not only the vegetables. They give you a pamphlet on how to prepare these. Here’s a prime example. I did not know what kale was. Now that I know that you sell it, I mean, just put them in any dish that you want, because this item I really had to ask Birdie. I asked everybody reading the pamphlet, “Well, show us how to do it and we can share the recipe with someone else.” If you are a diabetic, you get a box for a diabetic. They also have cuisines for Hispanic, Asian, the fruits and vegetables. They break it down into your necessities. Like mine was a variety of different vegetables, but what I liked most about it is that the way they tell you to prepare it, they give you the ideas. From there you can go and figure what goes with spices, what goes with this, what goes with that. That helps quite a bit. They just don’t drop the box to you. They let you know what has potassium, what has your protein, what has your nutrients that you need, what’s toxic, what’s not, what can be baked, how long you can bake it. They tell you how to prepare each food. It’s just not given to you.
FarmboxRx: What would you rather be on? A lot of medicine or a lot of healthy eating?
Cecelia: Well, of course, it’s healthy eating, but keep in mind, for us out here or for me, I had to learn and do all of this over again because here’s a prime example. When I lost all that weight, I looked like a ghost and it was taking medication for this, for this, for that, for this, for this. Then Birdie came and taught me to do things a little bit different. She would make these healthy vegetables and whatever dish that she made, she would make it for the center and for all of us. This healthy box here, my gosh, you get your variety. I see here an avocado and I love avocados. I didn’t even know you could have them for toast and for breakfast. That was something that I learned. It’s all about reading. It’s all about you telling me what is important and it’s up to me to read and really get into everything and be knowledgeable.
FarmboxRx: Since you started receiving it, how has it made life in the kitchen for you guys? I’m sure, for Birdie and your partner, has it been helpful just getting produce delivered?
Cecelia: Oh my gosh, yes. It saves us from going into town, and it’ll last us because we use half of it one week, half of it the next week so we don’t have to shop for the vegetables. It stays pretty fresh. Not only that, but I learned something else from today’s in the back of my brochure. Now I’m sorry I don’t have a recycling bin, but we do use the ice packs when we’re traveling to Albuquerque because he goes to the VA hospital and we stay there. The ice from the package also can be utilized and is utilized in our refrigerator.
FarmboxRx: That’s great. Or even if you get a little bump or bruise, you can kind of put it on a knee if it’s swollen. How has receiving your Farmbox made you feel?
Cecelia: Queen for a day. Knowing that you want to prepare something and it’s not there and then all of a sudden it was just like Christmas and it came, just in time. I’m going to be honest, blessed, knowing that there are so many people like you that care. That care to give us elders that are on disability and without sometimes the opportunity to have something so fresh, and not only that, but delivered on your doorstep.
FarmboxRx: What are some of your favorite meals that you think might come out of this box in the future or some that already have?
Cecelia: You can make anything out of them. You can make your fruit salad bar, your vegetable tray, eat them single, mix them together. I see here, I love the garlic because of my blood. They say an apple a day keeps the teacher away. Love my oranges. This vegetable right here we call calabacita, the squash. Again, zucchini, the squash separate in your vegetable, mixing them up. Just having a variety on your vegetable tray or fruit tray and eating them, you know?
FarmboxRx: What does healthy eating mean to you?
Cecelia: Healthy eating means you’re thoughtful. You have a clear vision. If you’re overstuffed, it clogs you. Healthy eating is knowing that you’ll be able to digest. It’s good for you. It makes you aware of foods that you shouldn’t be eating because they’re harmful.
FarmboxRx: Now, would you recommend Farmbox to any one of your friends or family? Tell me about that. Would you recommend Farmbox?
Cecelia: I would recommend my Farmbox to those who are unable to get the box. Like I said, earlier last month I contacted my neighbor. She’s a cancer survivor. She doesn’t drive. She’s had a stroke, a hip replacement, breast cancer. What I do is I call people and let them know that the Farmbox is available. Call these people, give them the number.