RICHMOND, Va. -- Outside the doors of VCU Massey Cancer Center is where the city meets the farm.
“This time we got onions, I mean scallions, tomatoes, green pepper,” said Al Grossman, who travels from Virginia Beach to Massey every month for Leukemia treatments.
Every chance he gets, he makes a stop at the outdoor market.
“I love coming here,” Grossman said.
Through a partnership with Massey, Shalom Farms sets up its weekly stand with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Most of their customers are patients going through cancer treatments.
The farm stand started six years ago with Tricycle Gardens which recently went out of business just before the pandemic hit. However, the mission of the farm stand has stayed the same. The partnership was formed after a needs assessment at Massey. Nutrition was the number one concern among patients especially for those living in a food desert.
“With more than a third of our patient population coming from underserved areas, it's definitely serving a wonderful purpose,” Susan Chandler, program coordinator for Integrative Health said.
Besides making the farm to table foods accessible, but also affordable. Jerry Henshaw is a regular.
“It’s priced right. The patients come first, but anybody else -- the nurses -- are welcomed to come down here. Whatever you feed in your body is what you feel,” Henshaw said.
Dietitian Allie Farlie says what you eat is even more important for patients during cancer treatment and during recovery.
“Some individuals may be encouraged to eat a healthy diet in general. Try to include a lot of plant based nutrients while others may be encouraged to include a lot of nutrient-dense, high-calorie, high-protein foods because during treatment your body is using a lot of energy. A lot of calories,” Farlie said.
Farlie said plant-based foods are packed with vitamins and fiber.
“And natural substances known as phyto chemicals. They are very cancer protective as well as for other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,” Farlie said.
The farm stand participates in the Virginia Fresh Match program that provides the BOGO match incentive for SNAP purchases. The Shalom Farm Stand is open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays through the middle of November.
On the 6th of the month, CBS 6 and VCU Massey Cancer Center remind women to contact their buddy to remind them to conduct a monthly breast self-exam. If it is time, you should also schedule an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram, which are key to early detection.