Children are not the primary decision makers on what type of food is served at home, so it is important to include the whole family in promoting healthy and mindful eating. The Prescription Produce Program (PPP) was designed to empower families and caregivers to access healthy, affordable food and to prepare it in ways that their family will enjoy.
This comprehensive twelve-week program was implemented at four sites in the Richmond region from July 2014 to June 2016, and included the following components:
- A Nurse Practitioner met weekly with 15 caregivers, measured their BMI and blood pressure, and “prescribed” fresh produce.
- A local producer—Shalom Farms—filled the prescription onsite with one serving of produce per day for every household member.
- Caregivers participated in six cooking classes on preparing the produce to eat with their families.
- Participants were able to supplement prescriptions by purchasing affordable produce at a weekly farm stand that accepted SNAP and doubled food stamp dollars.
- Participants discussed strategies for selecting healthy food choices at a local grocery store.
- A food bank—FeedMore— piloted a healthy mobile pantry at PPP sites, distributing more nutritious options and no sugar-sweetened beverages.
By participating in the Prescription Produce Program, caregivers purchased and prepared fresh vegetables to create healthy, home-cooked meals for themselves and their families.
“I love the zucchinis. I never ate them before. But I love them now.”
Lorraine Cavell, a participant in the PPP who lost nearly 30 pounds during the 3 month program
Key Result: 100% of participants in the PPP report eating more fresh produce during the program and 58% tried a new fruit or vegetable.