Our Prescription for Health program connects patients to their local farmers markets though their medical clinics. Health care providers write "prescriptions" for their patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and patients redeem their prescriptions at the farmers market.
The program was piloted in 2008 and funding has been generously provided by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System since 2016.
How Prescription for Health Works
The program runs from June to December.
Clinicians identify potential participants when patients come in for a regular visit. A clinician reviews the patient's chart for chronic disease risk and food access difficulty. If a patient is interested, the clinician refers the patient to a group enrollment visit. (Clinic Partners)
Patients attend a group enrollment visit. The patient attends a group enrollment visit, where he / she receives information about the program and engages in a discussion about the link between health, chronic disease and food choices. The patient sets specific goals for healthy eating and receives a "prescription" for fresh fruits and vegetables. The prescription may be filled at the local farmers market and is worth a total of $100.
Patients take their prescriptions to the Prescription for Health booth at the farmers market. Program staff provide individual nutrition education and support and give the patient $10 in tokens at each visit, up to 10 visits. The tokens can be used the same as cash at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit / vegetable plants. (Farmers Market Partners)