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New mobile teaching kitchen to provide free locally-grown produce, cooking demonstrations across eastern panhandle

New mobile teaching kitchen to provide free locally-grown produce, cooking demonstrations across eastern panhandle

West Virginia University’s Farm to You program unveiled a new mobile teaching kitchen. The kitchen will distribute free, locally-grown produce to patients and host student-led cooking demonstrations in the community.

The mobile teaching kitchen, provided through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and donor funds, will be utilized by the Farm to You program to deliver and distribute fresh, locally-grown produce and provide cooking demonstrations to patients at no cost at participating WVU Medicine clinics in the eastern panhandle. The mobile kitchen will also offer additional cooking demonstrations led by students enrolled in the WVU School of Medicine’s Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track (CLMT), a four-year medical track open to WVU medical students that emphasizes the importance of wellness in medicine.

Portrait of Emma Eggleston, M.D., MPH
Emma Eggleston, M.D., MPH

Emma Eggleston, M.D., MPH, the associate vice president for Community Health Innovation at WVU Health Sciences, said the food truck is a win for patients and learners alike.

“Farm to You’s new mobile kitchen allows us to provide fresh produce and healthy cooking demonstrations directly to our patients while supporting our local food economy and providing our medical students with the necessary tools they need to help patients achieve their health goals. It also helps us broaden our work with our community partners to impact the health of our greater community through collaboration,” Dr. Eggleston said.

Leaders hope the new mobile teaching kitchen can significantly impact West Virginians' health by bolstering programs that increase patient wellness across the region.

Eggleston said lifestyle medicine can be an often-overlooked medical discipline by the general public, but that it remains an important one as it plays a large role in a patient’s quality of life.

“When providers and patients alike take the time to learn about lifestyle medicine and the impact of factors such as sleep, movement, nutrition and stress management, it can be a profound experience for them and provide them with powerful new tools to use on their healthcare journey,” she said.

Portrait of Rosemarie Lorenzetti, M.D., MPH,
Rosemarie Lorenzetti, M.D., MPH

Rosemarie Lorenzetti, M.D., MPH, co-director of CLMT, explained the track aims to provide medical students, regardless of their future specialty, with an increased knowledge and understanding of nutrition, food science and preparation and lifestyle management issues. She said these crucial skills prepare CLMT graduates to better counsel patients on these important issues wherever they practice following their graduation.

“Graduates from our program have gone on to various residency placements spanning several medical disciplines at institutions across the country,” Dr. Lorenzetti explained. “When they enter these positions, they come equipped with an advanced knowledge of lifestyle medicine, which they can then teach to their patients and share with their peers. This aids us in our primary goal of establishing a network of physicians with advanced knowledge in nutrition and lifestyle medicine to combat the increasing burden of obesity and metabolic chronic diseases and improve health on a large scale.”

The program also allows local farmers to showcase their crops and potentially attract new customers.  Farm to You works with five farms across Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

Portrait of Madison Hale
Madison Hale

“Access to fresh, locally-grown produce can be an issue for any community, as it often tends to be more expensive than what is available in the average grocery store,” Madison Hale, the farm coordinator for Shepherd University’s Tabler Farm, said. “By participating in a program like Farm to You that financially supports us as local farmers, we can provide farm-fresh local produce directly to people in need who would otherwise not have access. It really is a win-win for everyone.”

Hale said community-focused events, like the mobile teaching kitchen, are exactly why the farm decided to get involved with Farm to You in the first place. Tabler Farm is a small demonstration and educational farm with a sustainable agriculture program at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, and one of the local farms that partners with the Farm to You program.

Portrait of Amanda Tomlin
Amanda Tomlin

Amanda Tomlin, coordinator for Farm to You, said she is proud to represent a program that benefits patients, farmers and the eastern panhandle community as a whole.

“Working directly with local farmers helps us educate our patients on new, better food choices while also connecting them closer to the source of local produce. Partnering with our local farmers also provides us with the dual benefit of obtaining fresh, local produce for our patients while simultaneously stimulating the local agricultural economy,” Tomlin said.

Eggleston added that this work is part of a larger movement across the state and nation, and the Farm to You team is excited to be working with other statewide initiatives to amplify the concept of ‘food as medicine.’

“There is a lot of great work being done across West Virginia to bring fresh produce and healthy food to our communities. We are excited about being a part of this growing statewide network, while learning from each other and innovating together,” she said.

The mobile kitchen had its grand unveiling on Monday, April 29, at the Dorothy A. McCormack Center located on the Berkeley Medical Center Campus. During the event, representatives from Farm to You distributed fresh produce from a local farm to attendees, while CLMT students utilized the food truck to host cooking demonstrations.

Additional dates and activities can be found on the Farm to You website at

To learn more about the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track, visit

A full album of photos from this event can be found online at the following link.

View a slideshow about this event by clicking here.