When Cassandra J. Perry was 13, a physical disability prevented her from going to school.

She had a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means that her joints are unstable, her connective tissue is weak, she’s more prone to injuries, and she has chronic pain.

When she began living alone as an adult after splitting up with her spouse, she worried about how she’d be able to grocery shop.

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Orlando Madison believes in second chances.

But for him, a 50 year-old Arkansas native, his second chance has been a long time coming.

In 2003, after serving a six-and-a-half year sentence for a drug felony charge, Orlando returned to his hometown of Benton, Arkansas, determined to make some big changes.

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Whether you are a foodie, a chef, a food stamp recipient, or all of the above, if you live in Oakland, California, you might be shopping at Freedom Farmers’ Market.

That might come across as an unusual mix of people if you’re new to the farmers market scene, but it's actually becoming the norm.

Over the past 30 years, farmers markets have surged in popularity. With a community feel, assorted selections of fresh foods, and sourcing from local farms, the farmers market can be one of the best ways to get your food.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

No one should have to choose between food and medicine. For many low-income people with chronic illnesses, however, it's a decision far too familiar.

Seth Berkowitz, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, recalls a woman — a mother — who ended up in the hospital with dangerously high blood pressure. The woman had a prescription for a medication to keep her blood pressure down, but she hadn't filled it because it was nearing the end of the school year and her kids' final tests were coming up. Faced with the option of paying for a prescription she needed or making sure her kids weren’t going into their tests hungry, she chose to feed her kids.

This is not an uncommon dilemma. When Berkowitz conducted a study on the subject back in 2014, he discovered that a third of the chronically ill patients he saw couldn't afford both food and medication.

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