“Farmers will be the healers of our generation.” – José Andres
DC Greens is proud to partner with Upper Cardozo Unity Health Clinic on the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program in Washington, D.C. The FVRx Program is developed and supported by Wholesome Wave to track the impact of increased fresh fruit and vegetable consumption on health indicators among low-income, obese patients.
Here’s how it works:
Doctors at Unity select program participants at high risk for obesity-related chronic illnesses. These patients receive a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription that can be redeemed at five area farmers’ markets. The participating “farmacies” are the 14th & U, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Bloomingdale and Glover Park-Burleith Farmers’ Markets. Patients’ redemption rates and health metrics are carefully tracked and entered into a secure portal. At the end of the season, Wholesome Wave will analyze the data in aggregate from their other partner sites nationwide.
Results from 2012 market season:
- 53% of patients enrolled in the program saw a decrease in BMI percentile over the course of the project. This number is even more stunning when you consider that the pilot took place over the summer months when children generally see an increase in BMI percentile.
- 78% of total prescription money was redeemed at the farmers’ markets (compare to only 53% of WIC farmers’ market coupons redeemed in the District).
- The clinic saw higher retention rates in their anti-obesity preventative care program (1300 unique patient visits during FVRx season as compared to 800 during the previous season).
We view the FVRx Program as a direct descendant of Dr. Jack Geiger’s revolutionary work in the Mississippi Delta in the mid-60s when he started prescribing food to patients experiencing malnutrition. In the same way, we are trying to address root causes of the current health crisis, and we’re enlisting the help of our local farmers, who will surely be the healers of this generation.