Fresh Prescription: Detroit residents prescribed fresh fruit and veggies

A fruit and vegetable prescription programme is helping to create healthy communities and community environments in Detroit.

The scheme known as Fresh Prescription, which prescribes fruit and vegetables on prescription rather than pills, targets low-income patients with chronic disease, caregivers of young children and pregnant women.

The first fruit and vegetable prescription programme in Detroit was launched in July 2013 at CHASS Center, in partnership with Eastern Market Farm Stand and Fair Food Network.

Fresh Prescription brings together the healthcare system and the food system, fostering innovative relationships to build a healthy sustainable food system in Detroit.

How it works is that a clinician meets with participants and their families to discuss healthy eating and assess fruit and vegetable consumption, access to healthy food, and knowledge and skills for choosing, preparing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. They then gives the participants a prescription to “eat more fruits and vegetables” and helps set goals for healthy eating.

Patients “fill” their prescription at a partnering farm stand or market, where they also receive nutrition counseling, cooking demonstrations and other educational support for making meaningful, healthy eating changes.

This local approach to a healthier food system connects patients to fresh, locally-grown produce while providing direct economic benefits to small and midsize farmers.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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