The farmers' market is the new pharmacy. This is the philosophy of Fruit and Veggie Rx, a new pilot program that recommends weekly trips to the farmers market for prescriptions of good old-fashioned produce.
Juliette Taylor DeVries, Chief Operating Officer of Wholesome Wave
, the nonprofit group who created the program, says, "We're hoping to change the food future." Wholesome Wave partners with over 30 other organizations to provide access and affordability to the 32 million Americans
living in food deserts, or those places without access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
DeVries says, "This is the first ever health initiative that can track the well being of patients after being prescribed a diet of fruits and vegetables." Partnering healthcare clinics will "prescribe" Fruit and Veggie Rx vouchers to 100 at-risk families throughout Maine and Boston during the 2010 farmers market season. These vouchers are redeemable at local farmers markets, each within walking distance of the individual families who are targeted by economic and accessibility factors. Transportation or market boxes will be provided to those out of proximity. Additionally, monthly lifestyle planning and education will maximize the effect of a new shopping routine, and ideally, create a conversation directly between customers and their farmers.