Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

The Shape Up North Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is designed to help patients with chronic disease shift their eating patterns to align with the evidence based Dietary Guidelines. Creating a healthy eating pattern with fresh fruits and vegetables is an evidence based way to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Through our partnering clinics, participants who have chronic disease are referred to our structured nutrition education classes that offer cooking demonstrations and tastings.  These classes take place at local farmers markets where they attend classes to receive market coupons to redeem for fresh fruits, vegetables and seedlings.  The goal is to provide the tools patients need to shift to healthier eating patterns.

The Fruit and Vegetable Program also provides valuable linkages between farmers, health care providers and the community.

For more information on participating clinics and markets please see below.

To see our video please click below.

 

                     

In order to qualify, participants must be referred by the following clinics and non profits:

Adults in Grand Traverse County

Children in Grand Traverse County

 

Adults in Benzie County

 

Participants referred into the program go to their local participating farmers market (see logos above) to check in for cooking demonstrations, nutrition education, and tips on eating healthy. This season the cooking demonstrations and education is provided in partnership with Michigan State University Extension. The education is intended to help with selecting and preparing healthy foods purchased at the farmers market.

Once participants have completed the session, they will receive market tokens to purchase seedlings, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Token values vary based on program.

While the tokens are only for those referred into the program, the cooking demonstrations and education are free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending any of these sessions, our Summer 2019 schedule is listed below:

  • The Village at Grand Traverse Commons Farmers’ Market: Mondays, June 3rd – October 7th. Classes start at 4pm or 5pm.
  • Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers’ Market: Wednesdays, June 5th-October 9th. Drop by education from 10am-12pm
  • Grow Benzie Farmers’ Market: Mondays, June 3rd – August 26th. Classes start at 4pm or 5pm.

For more information email us at MMC-FruitVeggieRx@mhc.net

 

Results from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Programs

Shape Up North started the Fruit and Vegetable Rx program in 2016 partnering with Munson Family Practice in Traverse City to implement a grant through the  Michigan Department of Health & Human Services’ (MDHHS) . The fruit and Vegetable Rx program connected adults with chronic disease who are patients at Munson Family Practice to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Eligible participants received prescriptions to redeem at the farmers market held at The Village at Grand Traverse (GT) Commons.  The goal was to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

The pilot program had 200 referrals who were identified by their provider as having a chronic disease. Participants attended up to 4 cooking demonstrations and nutritional education classes at the market and were eligible to receive up to $100 ( $25 per session) in coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Below are some of the findings from the participants’ self-reported data in our final evaluation:

  • Participants attended an average of 4.82 educational sessions.
  • They felt healthier and a statistically significant amount of participants improved their overall health rating to very good.
  • 53% of participants had cut or skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.
  • The average daily fruit and vegetable consumption increased by almost one cup.
  • Participants reported they feel motivated to continue to eat fruits and vegetables daily.

In 2017 the program was supported by the MDHHS, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (Health Fund) and Rotary Charities of Traverse City.  Adults in Traverse City with chronic disease were referred from Munson Family Practice and Traverse Health Clinic.  The Health Fund supported children who were overweight, obese or food insecure as identified by their local Pediatrician.  The program also expanded to Benzie County through the support of Rotary Charities.  Adults with chronic disease were referred through Bay Area Christian Neighbors, Benzie Senior Resources and the Crystal Lake Clinics in Frankfort and Benzonia.

Participants enrolled in the program and then attended nutritional education classes and cooking demonstrations.

  • Adults in the Traverse City program attended 5 session and received $20.00 in coupons per session.
  • Children in Traverse City attended 5 sessions and received $30.00 in coupons per session.
  • Adults in Benzie County attended 4 sessions and received $25.00 in coupons per session.

Data from the MDHHS grant was collected and analyzed while the Health Fund and Rotary Charities grants where extended to 2 years and results will be analyzed at the end of the market season in 2018.

Below are some of the findings from the participants’ self-reported data in our MDHHS 2017 final evaluation:

  • 15% of participants had never been to a farmers market.
  • 76% attended 5 or more educational sessions.
  • 100% redeemed earned coupons at the market.
  • There was a significant increase in fruit and vegetable variety, consumption and increase of vegetables at main meal.
  • Increased self reported health rating.

The 2018 the Fruit and Vegetable Rx Programs expanded

During the 2018 farmers markets the program expanded to include the Sarah Hardy Market in downtown Traverse City. In partnership with Michigan State University Extension (MSUe), Wednesday mornings are also offered to all adult and pediatric patients in Traverse City. Education and food tastings are provided by MSUe and allow patients and families to enjoy a new market.  Participants could also redeem coupons at the Saturday market.  In 2018 we addede Northwest Michigan Health Services to our referring partners.

Below are some of the findings from the participants’ self-reported data in our MDHHS 2018 final evaluation:

  • 72% of participants reported they used all of their market tokens.
  • 95% indicated they consume 1/2 cup or more fresh fruit daily.
  • 100% indicated they consume 1/2 cup or more vegetables on a daily basis.
  • There is a positive relationship between # of classes attended, motivation and efficacy.

Below are some of the findings from the participants’ self-reported data in our Benzie county program funded by Rotary Charities 2018 final evaluation:

  • 87 participants enrolled in the program and 77 attended at least 4 sessions.
  • 68% reported they used all their market tokens.
  • 28% of participants were using EBT/Bridge Cards and 34% were using food pantries.
  • Participant referrals increased for 34 in 2017 to 104 in 2018.