Trampas Hutches, Franklin Community Health Network president, speaks Tuesday at a news conference at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. The pilot program Food As Medicine received a $350,000 donation from Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation. Seated from left are program participant Anne Glazier of Rumford, MaineHealth chief improvement officer Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County Director LeeAnna Lavoie and Hannaford Supermarkets Vice President of Retail Operations Todd Bullen. Dr. Emily Keller, a physician at Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway and program planning committee member, is partially hidden by Hutches. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — A pilot program was given a major boost Tuesday with a donation of $350,000 from Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation.

Food As Medicine is a pilot program that prioritizes wholesome, fresh and nutritious foods as part of a comprehensive health care plan for under-resourced individuals and families with chronic health conditions. The program is through Franklin Community Health Network, which includes Franklin Memorial Hospital.

“At MaineHealth our vision is working together with our communities for the health of everyone,” Trampas Hutches, president of Franklin Community Health Network, said. “Food insecurity is one of our top priorities. Our food is one of the most underrated medications out there, has a lot to do with the health outcomes we experience from the disease process. I am excited to announce this partnership.”

The Hannaford donation is part of a new initiative, Eat Well, Be Well — A Path to Better Health, which will highlight the importance of nutritious food and achieving long-term wellness in a county with a history of food insecurity and  chronic illness, Todd Bullen, Hannaford Supermarkets vice president of retail operations, said. “(Hannaford) has a longstanding commitment to nourishing our communities, especially when it comes to improving access to food and meals for those who need it the most,” he noted.

Anne Glazier of Rumford, a participant in the pilot program Food As Medicine, speaks Tuesday at a news conference at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation has given $350,000 toward the program. Seated, from left, are Dr. Dora Anne Mills, MaineHealth; LeeAnna Lavoie, Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County; Trampas Hutches, MaineHealth; and Todd Bullen, Hannaford Supermarkets. Dr. Emily Keller, a physician at Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway and a planning committee member, is partially hidden behind Glazier. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The donation is part of a larger donation of more than $1.5 million spanning New York and New England, Bullen said. Food as Medicine focuses on the importance of a nutrient-rich diet, a critical component of health care, particularly for those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart conditions, he noted.

“At Hannaford, we believe wholesome fresh food is a critical ingredient to ensure the strength of our communities and success in the future,” Bullen added.


“People ask what is Food As Medicine,” Dr. Dora Anne Mills, MaineHealth chief health improvement officer,” said. “We as physicians and patients know medicine is something we take to improve our health. What we are learning more and more is that we can also use food as a way to improve our health.”

Mills spoke of her first experience eating kale and how she had to learn ways to prepare it. “It took some work with people teaching me,” she said. “I learned how to make it taste good. It improves your health, I know it is a lot healthier for me. That is the basic concept of Food As Medicine.

“We are trying to make sure people have the nutritious foods that help improve their health but also the tools, the education that goes along with it and also looking at how we build community,” she said.

There are two components to Food As Medicine. The first sees healthy meals delivered to people regionally who have been discharged from the hospital after heart disease issues. The second is a food pantry that will provide foods and the tools needed to know how to prepare them.

The impact of the program will be evaluated, Mills said. “We believe Food As Medicine is a strategy we can learn from,” she stressed. “It is a wave of the future.”

The Good Shepherd Food Bank is another partner for Food As Medicine, Mills added.


Food As Medicine also looks to:

• Increase access to healthy foods;

• Increase knowledge and skills around lifestyles such as physical activity, mindfulness and healthy eating by providing education and hands-on cooking classes; and

• Increase social connectedness in bringing people together to support each other.

“Cooking Matters is a hands-on cooking class that is supported by Hannaford and Good Shepherd Food Bank,” LeeAnna Lavoie, Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County director, said. “Living Well for Better Health is a chronic disease health management class that focuses on looking at symptoms of chronic disease and action planning.”

There are 10 participants enrolled, with a third session and 11 more participants launching Sept. 20, Lavoie said.


“As we have heard from others, the critical links between chronic disease and nutritional food security can’t be ignored,” Dr. Emily Keller, part of the planning committee from Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, said. “To prevent increased chronic disease in the community at large we need to recognize the underlying (factors) that reside outside the hospital. That is why this program is so important, because it bridges that gap.”

In the few weeks the program has been operating, some patients are already seeing benefits, Keller noted.

Anne Glazier and her husband, Charles, of Rumford are participating in Wednesday afternoon and evening Food As Medicine sessions. She has health issues that require a special diet. She has had to give up garlic and onions, something she typically cooked with, which she said distressed her.

The Food As Medicine program has become a family for us, Glazier said. She likes the format which includes classes, hands-on cooking and shopping. The Healthy Community Coalition food pantry is stocked with whole foods and foods fresh from the garden, she noted.

“In our class we talk about shopping economically,” Glazier said. The Hannaford reward program is used by many people, she stated. “In these times it is important to have all kinds of techniques to reduce what we spend and be able to have healthy meals.”

Teachers Kathy Doyon and David Scammon talked about one of the meals prepared in the hands-on classes, then shared samples with the audience.

“It is good,” state Senator Russell Black of Wilton said.

At the Healthy Community Coalition office, the food pantry will soon be in a new site in the Greenwood Building on the Franklin Memorial Hospital Campus. Kitchen and classroom spaces will be available there.

“(Food As Medicine) has brought my husband and me closer together,” Glazier said. “He has been in the kitchen with me, it is really fun to be together, learning what we can eat together so I am not doing something separate from what he is.”

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