Produce Rx

Since 2012, DC Greens has partnered with Wholesome Wave, the DC Department of Health, AmeriHealth Caritas, and health clinics and farmers’ markets to implement a Produce Prescription (Produce Rx) program in Washington, DC.

Through Produce Rx, patients at risk for or experiencing diet-related chronic illness are referred by their health care providers into a six-month group nutrition education program. Participants visit their health clinic monthly, where they have a check-in with their health care provider and attend a one-hour class featuring a nutrition lesson and seasonal recipe demonstration. At the end of the class, health care providers issue monthly prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables, which the patients redeem weekly at DC farmers’ markets for checks that can be spent on fresh farmers’ market produce. In 2017, DC Greens is partnering with 7 health clinics to implement the program, reaching nearly 500 patients and family members. With close tracking on both the health clinic and farmers’ market side, Produce Rx provides essential data on the value of nutrition-based health interventions.

Outcomes
Since 2012, this program has reached over 1,500 patients and family members, who have spent over $175,000 with local farmers.

Health
DC Greens has seen consistently that participants see an improvement in individual health metrics over the course of the program. 50% of participants see some reduction in their BMI over the course of the program, and health care providers have also shared that participants with elevated A1c levels have seen a reduction in their blood glucose. 42% of participants report that they have better overall health as a result of the program.

Relationships with Health Care Providers
At the end of the program, 87% of participants report that their health care provider is good or great at listening to them, taking enough time with them, explaining what they want to know, and giving them good advice about their health. Preliminary data from Unity Health Care also shows that participants in the Produce Prescription Program visit their primary care clinic more regularly compared to individuals not participating in the program.

Consumption of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
At the end of the program, about 85% of program participants report that they like fruits and vegetables. 64% report knowing more about the importance of fruits and vegetables in their family’s diet, and 38% report that they have a healthier diet overall as a result of the program. Additionally, as of the end of the program nearly 90% of participants report that they feel comfortable shopping at the farmers’ market.

Additional Resources
Take a look at what participants learn throughout the season: check out our seasonal ingredient one-pagers in English and Spanish.

Contact
Please contact Ellie Fausold, ellie@dcgreens.org, for more information about DC Greens’ Produce Rx program.