The Farmacy project is a unique partnership between AdkAction and its partners to address food access barriers with innovative solutions. While many rural downtowns cannot support a year-round local grocery store, the Farmacy model provides another option whereby an existing business incorporates a farm grocery section into its storefront. This can bring excitement and added foot traffic to the existing store and increased access to high-quality food in a community without incurring the operating costs of opening a new store.
Keeseville, like so many other rural communities in the North Country, experiences high food insecurity rates due to the loss of its only grocery store in 2013. The Farmacy project was created by AdkAction in partnership with the Keeseville Pharmacy to address the need for a centralized location to sell fresh, local food in the community. The Farmacy stocks its shelves with high-quality local produce, meat, dairy, eggs, baked goods, and value-added products. AdkAction has replicated the Farmacy business model in Port Henry, New York, a small rural town that lost its grocery store in 2019. Mountain Weavers’ Farm store is a small local food retailer in Port Henry, New York that operates as a mixed-use business model with the mission of increasing accessibility of local, healthy food to all. This project operates as a partnership between AdkAction and Mountain Lake Services, a chapter of the ARC, that assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Many residents of Port Henry have barriers to transportation. The farm store shelves and coolers are stocked with fresh produce, dairy, meat, eggs, and value-added products from local farms and food processors alongside high-quality baskets handmade by the residents of Mountain Lake Services.
While direct access to fresh food can be an obstacle to many communities, another common barrier to consuming local food is cooking education barriers. In addition to physically offering food on the shelves of the Farmacy project locations, AdkAction offers a variety of education and outreach resources revolving around local food, such as cooking classes, demonstrations, incentive programs, recipe development, and local food promotion. This outreach is intended to remove barriers for consumers to using local food in healthy and wholesome food preparation techniques,
Innovative food access programs like the Farmacy help reduce these barriers to fresh food within communities by offering alternative solutions while keeping food dollars within local economies and the hands of local farmers. By bridging the gap between producers and their community, it is possible to put money back into local economies and promote vibrant communities in the North Country, while ensuring that all people have access to the bounty of our region.