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Aetna Better Health® of Illinois injects over $235,000 to support urban farming in the Chicagoland area

October 4, 2023 |3 minute read time

Two people kneeling and working in a farm

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Oct. 4, 2023 – Aetna Better Health® of Illinois, a CVS Health® company (NYSE: CVS), has provided over $235,000 to support urban farming in the greater Chicago area.

The health plan has supported several organizations in Chicago and the suburbs to bring healthy food options to neighborhoods that do not have easy access to fresh foods. The organizations supported include:

  • Chicago Center for Arts and Technology
  • Connections for the Homeless
  • Eat to Live Urban Farm
  • Free Will Good Hope Church
  • Growing Home
  • Hydroponic Venture Project
  • Larkin Village 
  • Legends South
  • The Farm on Ogden
  • Vera Yates Community Garden at Vera Yates Homes


“Access to nutritious foods is key to maintaining one’s health and aligns with our objective to improve overall health of our communities,” said Rushil Desai, CEO, Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “We invest in urban farms that provide locally grown produce to communities with less access to grocery stores and produce markets. Additionally, these farms provide employment training opportunities for people to work on the farm and develop valuable job skills.”

The collaboration with Aetna Better Health of Illinois supports Windy City Harvest’s mission to provide health, food and jobs to North Lawndale and surrounding communities.

“Through the Farm on Ogden, the headquarters of Windy City Harvest, Aetna’s funding allows us to purchase seeds and live plants, helping Windy City Harvest accomplish two key things: grow, harvest, and distribute produce to the North Lawndale community; and provide hands-on training to workforce development participants across various farm sites in Chicago,” said Paul Krysik, director of strategic initiatives at Windy City Harvest.

Aetna Better Health of Illinois continues to support various organizations across the state who assist Medicaid members with access to healthy food, job development, housing support, maternal and child health and access to care.

Aetna Better Health of Illinois offers access to quality, affordable health care to individuals through the state's HealthChoice Illinois Medicaid program. The health plan serves over 420,000 members in 102 counties. For more information about Aetna Better Health® of Illinois, visit our website,

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of under-resourced populations, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve members in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that's managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

Media contact

Robert Joyce

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