Farm to Fork is Helping Build a Healthier Mississippi

July 12, 2017

Since 2012, nearly 64 tons of food has been delivered across Mississippi through an initiative called Farm to Fork. Created in 2012 to address food-insecure areas across the state, the initiative provides healthy, nutritious foods to people in Mississippi who are at risk of obesity, heart disease and certain cancers. A six-year partnership between UnitedHealthcare and the Alcorn Extension Program has brought farm-fresh produce to thousands of community residents in food deserts throughout the state.

Mississippi ranked 50th in the nation for overall health, and more than 35 percent of adults are considered obese, according to the 2016 America's Health Rankings® report.

Since 2012, the initiative has:

  • Delivered nearly 64 tons of food to Community Plan participants statewide.
  • Held more than 170 food distributions throughout the state.
  • Served 16,000 Community Plan members through food distributions.
  • Helped improve health outcomes and close gaps in care, as many distribution sites take place at Federally Qualified Health Centers where Community Plan participants visit their primary care providers, receive preventive care and catch up on any missed wellness visits.

"In 2016 alone, Farm to Fork served nearly 5,000 Mississippians and was one of our most productive in terms of member engagement, service reach and product benefit awareness," said John Coleman, extension educator with the Alcorn Extension Program. "We believe we will reach more people and communities this year."

UnitedHealthcare has expanded the Farm to Fork program this year by offering distribution sites more deeply embedded in communities, including a community center, a local fitness facility, a church and a neighborhood Boys and Girls Club.

"In Mississippi, more than a third of adults are considered obese, so this is a major health issue we are addressing every day," said Jocelyn Carter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi. "Farm to Fork aims to educate our members and encourage them to make healthier choices and develop habits that can last a lifetime."