Fresh Prescription is a fruit and vegetable prescription program that brings together the healthcare system and the food system, fostering innovative relationships to build a healthy sustainable food system in Detroit. This promising approach to a healthier food system connects patients to fresh, locally-grown produce while providing direct economic benefits to small and midsize farmers.
Low-income patients with chronic disease, caregivers of young children and pregnant women are referred to the Fresh Prescription program by their primary care physician. A clinician meets with participants and their families to discuss healthy eating and assess fruit and vegetable consumption, access to healthy food, and knowledge and skills for choosing, preparing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. The clinician gives the participants a prescription to “eat more fruits and vegetables” and helps set goals for healthy eating. Patients "fill" their prescription at a partnering farm stand or market, where they also receive nutrition counseling, cooking demonstrations and other educational support for making meaningful, healthy eating changes.
Our vision is to grow Fresh Prescription into a city-wide network of partnering health centers, local food retailers (farmers markets, farmers, mobile markets, etc.) and community partners working together to provide fresh, local fruits and vegetables to patients and critical support programming & services like nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, health coaching and more. Helping to create healthy communities and community environments that support healthy lifestyles, healthy behaviors, and a healthy local food system.
The first fruit and vegetable prescription program in Detroit was launched in July 2013 at CHASS Center, Inc. in partnership with Eastern Market Farm Stand and Fair Food Network. To learn about the results from this pilot program, please see the 2013 Outcomes Report.
In 2014, two new sites joined: American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS), and Joy-Southfield CDC in partnership with Henry Ford Health System.
Notable in year two: we piloted a fresh food share box model (vs. farmers market) at AIHFS and piloted a mobile application and debit card style system for electronic prescriptions and currency.
For more information, see our 2014 Outcomes Report.
We had an exciting 2015 season full of new sites and partners, an expansion of our technology/electronic currency pilot which allows participants to fill their prescriptions at various participating sites, and more! Most programs wrapped up in late October, with the exception of American Indian Health and Family Services, which continues their fresh food share box model in partnership with Gleaners through the winter months.
We shared preliminary results, lessons learned and heard about the experiences of multiple stakeholders involved in this collaborative community project including a healthcare provider, local food partner, program coordinators, and community health and education partners at a the Detroit Food Policy Council's annual summit "Detroit Food 2016" on March 10, 2016, as well as Michigan Farmers Market Association's annual conference March 9, 2016.
For more information, see our 2015 Outcomes Report.
The Ecology Center has passed leadership of the Fresh Prescription Program over to program partners, Eastern Market and CHASS (Community Health and Social Services Center.) We are excited to see where they take the program next. Please see the updated contact info below.
We're very proud and excited to have many important community partners, allies, and supporters, without whom we could not be building a robust network of programming throughout Detroit.
Fresh Prescription is modeled after Washtenaw County Public Health's Prescription For Health Program.
Published on February 24, 2017