Produce Prescription Program (Produce Rx)
The Produce Rx Program allows medical professionals to prescribe fresh fruit and vegetables to patients experiencing diet-related chronic illnesses with additional support for patients living in poverty. Doctors and health care providers have long argued that nutrition is essential to health. This program now takes a food-as-medicine approach by integrating produce prescriptions into the health care system.
DC Greens initially ran Produce Rx from 2012 to 2017 in partnership with DC Farmers’ Markets. The Produce Rx Farmers Market model was proven to increase well-patient visits by 54% while 50% of the program’s 120 annual participants decreased their body-mass index (BMI). Due to these results, Produce Rx was named DC’s “best food access program” by Edible DC in 2017. However, one limitation of the program was that farmers markets were only available seasonally and only during specific times of the day.
In 2019, DC Greens shifted the program to the current grocery store model in partnership with Giant Food, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, and the DC Department of Health. This shift allowed for year-round access to fresh produce and the ability to study the positive impacts of prescribing healthy food to address chronic diseases. The Alabama Avenue Giant Food location is the only full-service grocery store in DC’s Ward 8 and serves as the primary pharmacy and grocery store location for Produce Rx patients. Participating patients receive a $20 coupon per week to spend on produce, as well as wrap-around nutrition education from AmeriHealth Caritas and store-tours from Giant’s in-store nutritionist. Produce Rx is designed to integrate healthy food access into the healthcare system, and to strengthen clinical tools for addressing patients’ needs.
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for this program, individuals must meet all the following requirements:
Current resident of Ward 8 in DC
Over 18 years of age
AmeriHealth Caritas DC member
Current patient at any of the participating clinics
Diagnosed with any one of the following conditions:
Community of Hope Conway
Max Robinson Center - Whitman-Walker Health
Unity Healthcare - Anacostia Health Center
Please contact Andrea Talhami, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about DC Greens’ Produce Rx program.