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Independence Blue Cross’s Friendly Farm Stands help seniors make healthy food choices and build strong connections with their neighbors

Independence Blue Cross (IBX) has been helping seniors in the Philadelphia region make healthy food choices and connect with their neighbors through Friendly Farm Stands. Friendly Farm Stands provide seniors with a variety of locally sourced fruits and vegetables, tote bags, recipe cards, and flowers and plants at no cost. The events also feature a photo booth and create a friendly atmosphere. Events are not limited to IBX members. They are open to neighbors looking to connect with one another and receive a bag of healthy food to take home.

“We know that eating right is important to a person’s health. Research shows that people with healthy eating patterns live longer and are at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. But healthy foods are not always easy to find or cost-effective to buy. That’s why events like these Friendly Farm Stands are so essential,” said Dr. Heidi Syropoulos, medical director for Government Markets at Independence Blue Cross.

The IBX Medicare Advantage team began hosting Friendly Farm Stands in October 2023. They took place over three months at independent living/55+ communities and senior centers in the Philadelphia five-county region. In those three short months, IBX engaged with over 1,500 seniors.

Those attending the events were offered produce from two local family produce distributors who meticulously sourced most of it from the regional areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. They also received flowers and plants that were tagged with a brief message about proper care that was printed on seed paper that they could keep and use in the spring. Most importantly, they got to engage in one-on-one conversations with others attending the events and IBX staff members.

“Loneliness is a growing issue in the aging population, and it impacts both physical and mental health. Events like this help us address that,” said Dr. Syropoulos. “We are thrilled to continue these events as it is common to see happy, engaged attendees at the Friendly Farm Stands.”

With its proven success, IBX is planning to reintroduce the Friendly Farm Stands during the 2024 annual enrollment period this fall.


Media contact:
Diana Quattrone
215-815-7828 (cell)