Produce Prescription Program (Produce Rx)

fullsizeoutput_3c.jpeg

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.

Background

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:

    • Hypertension

    • Pre-diabetes

    • Diabetes

Participating Clinics

  • Community of Hope Conway

  • Max Robinson Center - Whitman-Walker Health

  • Unity Healthcare - Anacostia Health Center

Press Coverage

Washington Post,  Food as medicine: Doctors are prescribing broccoli and bananas alongside beta blockers

Washington Post, Food as medicine: Doctors are prescribing broccoli and bananas alongside beta blockers

Washington City Paper,  Some D.C. Residents Can Exchange Prescriptions for Produce at Giant on Alabama Ave. SE

Washington City Paper, Some D.C. Residents Can Exchange Prescriptions for Produce at Giant on Alabama Ave. SE

WAMU,  How Prescribing Healthy Food In Ward 8 Could Help African Americans Curb Chronic Illnesses

WAMU, How Prescribing Healthy Food In Ward 8 Could Help African Americans Curb Chronic Illnesses

WTOP,   From farm to pharmacy: Ward 8’s Giant Food fills prescriptions for produce

WTOP, From farm to pharmacy: Ward 8’s Giant Food fills prescriptions for produce

NBC 4, Prescription for Produce: DC Program Focuses on Getting Ward 8 Residents Healthy

East of the River,  Produce Prescription Program Launches at Alabama Street Giant

East of the River, Produce Prescription Program Launches at Alabama Street Giant

ABC 7,  Doctors in D.C. 'prescribing' fruits and vegetables to low-income patients

ABC 7, Doctors in D.C. 'prescribing' fruits and vegetables to low-income patients

Street Sense Media,  This pilot program allows health clinics to prescribe produce to improve health, supported by grocery vouchers

Street Sense Media, This pilot program allows health clinics to prescribe produce to improve health, supported by grocery vouchers

Contact

Please contact Andrea Talhami, andrea@dcgreens.org, for more information about DC Greens’ Produce Rx program.