What they do: FreshRx New Mexico is a produce prescription program run by the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association (NMFMA), a nonprofit that supports small farmers in the state. Participants either receive produce vouchers to be used at a local farmers’ market, or, if they are unable to access a farmers’ market, they receive weekly produce bags through their healthcare clinic. The program runs for 16 weeks, starting on July 1 each year, during New Mexico’s peak growing season.
Participants receive recipes and brochures with healthy eating information and a harvest calendar that indicates what produce is in season in New Mexico at any given time. Cooking classes or demonstrations are scheduled throughout the season and are held at clinics, farms, and farmers’ markets, but attendance at these classes is not mandatory.
Starting on July 1, 2023, an American Diabetes Association grant will support a study to determine the impact of FreshRx participation on hemoglobin A1c levels among diabetic patients. Fifty patients will receive the produce vouchers, and 50 in a control group will not.
How they do it: More than 30 clinics throughout New Mexico will be able to enroll eligible patients in the program this year.
Eligibility requirements and protocol vary depending on the funding source, because the FreshRx program operates under two different funders.
Participants funded under the USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program – Produce Prescription Program (GusNIP) grant must be food-insecure and have a diet-related medical condition, such as diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. Participants receive a $20 voucher for each of the 16 weeks. The vouchers may sometimes be distributed four at a time, and participants are usually required to return to the clinic in person to receive their next voucher(s).
Participants go to a farmers’ market, where they receive tokens in exchange for their vouchers. The tokens do not expire and can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at any time throughout the season.
The second group of participants, who are state-funded, must live in a household with a child under 18 and an individual with a diet-related illness. These participants receive weekly produce bags provided by CSA (community-supported agriculture) farms. The produce bags are delivered to the participating healthcare clinics, and the clinics are responsible for ensuring the patients receive their bags.
The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition provides technical support and conducts data collection through a survey that addresses fruit and vegetable intake and food security status.
Mission: To improve nutrition access across New Mexico.
Annual Budget: $400,000
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: FreshRx New Mexico addresses the needs of people throughout a large portion of the state, including 11 different pueblos or indigenous communities, and not just urban centers. The program runs in tandem with Double Up Food Bucks, a program that doubles the value of SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets.
La Clinica de Familia
La Familia Medical Center
El Centro Family Health
Hidalgo Medical Services
First Choice Community Health
Presbyterian Community Health
Taos Pueblo Health and Community Services
First Nations Community HealthSource
Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center
Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center
Diabetes Management Programs in 10 Pueblo Communities
Core Programs: Produce prescription program
Number of staff: 1
Number of volunteers: 0
Areas served: New Mexico
Year Started: 2021
Program Coordinator: Kirsten Hansen
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- FreshRx (Produce Prescription Program) (New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association)