The Farmacy Philly (Overbrook) Center for Human & Environmental Health is a center designed to provide deliberate upstream-health, nutrition and environmental-health related intervention strategies to underserved communities. The Farmacy Philly will encourage behavior changes that constructively address the underlying social, economic, and healthcare disparities in our target communities in zip codes 19131, 19139 and 19151.
The project was conceived by JASTECH Development Services, Inc., a 501 (c) (3), not-for-profit, PA corporation. In 1998, JASTECH was established with a mission to ensure a more livable, sustainable, and equitable Philadelphia community (JASTECH is an acronym for Juveniles Active in Science and Technology).
In 2002, JASTECH established the Overbrook Environmental Education Center (OEEC), a community-based center is dedicated to preserving our built and natural environments; improving public health; and promoting personal enrichment with literacy and art. The Overbrook Farmacy project was essentially an outcome of two of the OEEC’s previous projects: 1) Overbrook Environmental Education Center Community-Based Campaign: Social Marketing for Healthier Neighborhoods and 2) Prescription for Better Health project (PBH).
Social Marketing for Healthier Neighborhoods
The 2014, Social Marketing for Healthier Neighborhoods project was a one-year pilot EPA funded Environmental Justice grant designed to form a Community Advisory Board to participate in the campaign process; identify critical behavior targets regarding clean water and toxic substances control within in the Overbrook community; identify the community’s perceptions of barriers and benefits to the target behavior; implement a community-based, participatory campaign to change target behaviors, and build community capacity through meaningful involvement to address future environmental health issues.
The Prescription for Better Health project (PBH)
The PBH Project was guided by the idea that pathways to healthy foods and healthy behaviors are multi‐dimensional. By this, we mean that access to healthy foods is not simply a function of geographic access, but rather a function of five distinct dimensions of food access: 1) spatiotemporal, 2) economic, 3) social, 4) service delivery, and 5) personal. This theory is based on food access studies of low‐income populations in the South (Freedman, Liese, Hatala, Lomax, & Blake, 2011).
PBH is modeled on the “Right Choice, Fresh Start (RCFS) Farmer’s Market Project”, that was piloted in 2010-12 in a collaboration between the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network and the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina. PBH embraced RCFS’s model but, adapted elements to meet the strengths and needs of our unique Overbrook/West Philadelphia community setting.