Modern Farmer: The Power of Produce Prescriptions

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This story originally appeared in Modern Farmer written by Brian Barth.

Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit founded by chef Michel Nischan, is renowned in social justice circles for its success in bringing healthy food to those who need it most. The organization pioneered the idea of doubling the value of SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) when recipients use them to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, which is now commonplace across the country.

Less known is that for the last six years, Wholesome Wave has worked quietly on an equally ambitious initiative: getting healthcare providers to write prescriptions for produce, rather than just pills. It’s called FVRx (Fruit and Vegetable Rx) and its ready to storm the nation—starting with downtown LA.

Target, the national retail chain, has sponsored the biggest FVRx program to date, in which more than 500 families who receive healthcare services at the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center in Los Angeles are now receiving produce prescriptions from their doctor, along with vouchers to purchase fresh produce at Target stores and nearby farmers markets.

Who FVRx Serves

All of the participating families are living at or below the poverty line, and a quarter of the children are over the 85th Body Mass Index percentile, which classifies them as overweight or obese. The vast majority of families who are enrolled are already receiving SNAP benefits, which provide about $4 per person per day for food. For a family of four, the FVRx program adds another $4 per day, which must be spent exclusively on fresh produce....

Read the full story on Modern Farmer here.