What they do: The Produce Rx program in Washington County, Oregon, is led by a partnership between the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres and the Virginia Garcia Medical Center. Patients of Virginia Garcia’s Cornelius Wellness Center are eligible to participate if they self-identify as living at or below the federal poverty line and suffer from or are at risk for diet-related diseases. The program provides nutrition education, and participants and their families receive $6 per family member per week on a Fresh Connect debit card that they can use at the Forest Grove Farmers Market from May through October. As of January 2023, the Fresh Connect debit cards can also be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at grocery stores during the farmers market off-season. Participation in the program can last as long as 3 years.
To measure outcomes, participants fill out surveys twice a year and may be interviewed on topics such as physical and mental health, current and past dietary habits, feelings about diet and food choices, or family and community interactions.
How they do it: In the spring, healthcare providers at the Cornelius Wellness Center refer eligible patients and their families to the Produce Rx program, which begins in May. Nutrition education classes are held monthly, and at least one family member must attend at least four of the six classes between May and October in order to continue participation the following year. The classes provide a demonstration of a recipe that uses locally grown, seasonal produce from the farmers market, and each participant takes home a printed recipe. Classes are conducted in Spanish to be inclusive of the region’s significant Latinx population.
Participants can now receive extra farmers market vouchers worth $50 per family per month to account for the rising cost of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market. Extra vouchers and recipes can be picked up at the weekly farmers market and redeemed at any market vendor selling fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, or edible plant starts. Vendors will have signage on their booths indicating that they accept Produce Rx vouchers and Fresh Connect cards.
Mission: To improve health outcomes for low-income patients who suffer from or are at risk for diet-related diseases.
Major Funding: Providence Community Grants Council, Oregon Community Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CareOregon, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Rockefeller Foundation
Annual Budget: $8.2 million
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: Participants report experiencing improved health outcomes, and needing less medication and less medical care, all of which have helped to decrease family stress.
Cornelius Wellness Center
1151 N. Adair St.
Cornelius, OR 97113
Forest Grove Farmers Market
Forest Grove, OR 97116
Core Programs: Produce Prescription Program
Number of staff: 105
Number of volunteers: 314
Areas served: Washington County, Oregon
Year Started: 2014
Program Manager: Carla Fisanich, Health Equity Manager
Contact Information: email@example.com
- CareOregon partners with Adelante Mujeres to support food access for Latinx families in Washington County (CareOregon)
- Partnering to End Food Insecurity: Adelante Mujeres (Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon)
- Program Prescribes Fresh Farmers Market Produce (Forest Grove NewsTimes)
- Produce Rx Program Manual (Adelante Mujeres and Virginia Garcia)