Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

What HIP means to Lang & Ngo

Lang and Ngo bonded and became friends over their shared love of vegetables. Ngo moved to Worcester from Vietnam in 1996 and Lang arrived in 2007. They have been friends for the past ten years. They meet weekly at the Worcester Senior Center where they are both regular Regional Environmental Council mobile market customers. Staff at the market say that Lang and Ngo are often there to greet them when they set up, arriving early to get first pick of the day’s offerings. They shop together, and often bring other friends

Ngo is vegetarian and Lang is vegan and both are aficionados of raw food. Ngo’s favorite vegetables include turnips, scallions, and apples and Lang loves Napa cabbage and sweet potatoes. The friends swap recipes, finding new ways to highlight the produce they buy at the market. Ngo says, “We marinate the sweet potatoes, using Lang’s recipe, and fry or bake it. It’s really good!”

Prior to the introduction of HIP, Lang struggled with a variety of health concerns, including hypertension and a persistent cough that had her frequently in the emergency room for her breathing. She says she used to have to go to the emergency room, “all the time,” but since the introduction of HIP, she has drastically increased her vegetable consumption with dramatic results. “Since we have HIP, my health has improved a lot. I feel more comfortable to get more vegetables and I’m able to eat more raw foods. My health has improved a lot. For this entire year, I haven’t gone to the ER at all. In the past, every time I have gotten a cough, I had to go to the hospital but this entire year I have not gone at all. Thank you HIP!”

Ngo also highlights the importance of a healthful diet, as she incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables into salads, stir fries, and juicing regularly. This makes it especially important to her to buy produce that is local. She says, “If I go to a regular store and buy vegetables there, I don’t want to eat raw. It doesn’t keep well. The vegetables at the market keep well, are fresh.” She and Lang are eagerly awaiting the return of the Healthy Incentives Program and the Mobile Market and say, “The vegetables have really helped. Thank you!”

For more information about HIP, and the Campaign for HIP Funding, click here.
Thanks to the Regional Environmental Council for writing these stories.

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative