August 21, 2023

Community Markets Inc. and UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia Partner to Increase Access to Fresh Local Produce Across the State, Eastern Panhandle

Community Markets Inc. (CMI) has been awarded a $45,000 Community Investment Grant from UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia (UniCare), establishing a partnership that will increase the availability of farm fresh, locally grown produce to food deserts in West Virginia. CMI will use the grant to purchase a truck and refrigerated trailer to establish mobile farmers markets and food distributions in ten West Virginian counties, of which eight counties are in the Eastern Panhandle.

“Community Markets Inc. is very grateful to UniCare for investing in our West Virginian farmers so that healthy food grown in our beloved Mountain State is readily available to food insecure Appalachian families,” CMI Program Manager Mark Peiffer commented. “We are excited for this opportunity to serve our community and look forward to the impact that our partnership with UniCare will have.”

CMI and UniCare will partner with local organizations to hold a Food Box Giveaway in 10 counties, and two weekly mobile farmers markets in Jefferson County. UniCare’s investment in Community Markets Inc. is a commitment to promoting local food and the concept of ‘food as medicine’, which underscores the belief that a nutritious diet is the foundation of effective preventive healthcare. Food security and health are inextricably linked. The lack of access to nutritious foods can have serious, long-term effects on health and well-being, and it can make managing existing chronic conditions more difficult for people facing hunger. Together, CMI and UniCare will work together to bring local food and health services to West Virginian families.

“Everyone deserves access to nutritious, healthy food, and it remains UniCare’s priority to support initiatives that reduce food insecurity and improve the whole health of our communities,” said Tadd Haynes, President, UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia. “Through our partnership with Community Markets Inc., we will continue to break down barriers and create innovative solutions that leave no one hungry or malnourished. Together, we’re working to cultivate a healthier, more equitable West Virginia where everyone can thrive, reach their full potential, and enjoy a life of dignity and well-being.”

About Community Markets Inc.

To learn more about Community Markets Inc. contact Mark Peiffer at or by visiting

Community Markets Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles Town, WV whose mission is to connect locally grown food to families in need.

About UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc.

UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc., serves more than 180,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries living in West Virginia. UniCare has served Medicaid beneficiaries in West Virginia since 2003 and WVCHIP members in 2021. For more information about UniCare, visit and follow the company on Facebook @UniCareWV and Twitter @UniCareWV.