Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to Get Vegetables to an Urban Population

Just came across DC Greens. How to get vegetables to an urban population- compliments of Lauren Shweder Biel.
Produce Plus
Over the summer months, DC Greens worked with the Department of Health to implement their Produce Plus program. Operating with municipal funding, Produce Plus allows any DC resident on Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, and other federal benefit programs to get $10 in market dollars per week to purchase produce at the city’s farmers markets. The demand for this program was astonishing. Markets across the city saw lines around the block on a weekly basis!

DC Greens spent the fall analyzing the data for the program, and we are thrilled to report that $167,000 went out to help low-income customers buy local produce. In addition, the program brought new customers to markets, resulting in a city-wide increase in SNAP (food stamp) purchases at farmers’ markets. We are so proud of the city for investing in nutrition incentives at farmers' markets, and thrilled that the program was met with unequivocal demand from the customers who need it the most.

Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

This week marks the end of our 2014 Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program season.  For the past six months, patients at four Unity Clinics across the city have received prescriptions from their doctors to redeem for free produce at any of 40 farmers markets across the city. This season, 78 patients and their 173 family members benefited from the program, which DC Greens runs in partnership with the Department of Health and Wholesome Wave. We’ll be analyzing the health data in the coming months, but from our initial review we expect the same strong results that we’ve seen in past years, with drops in Body Mass Index (BMI) and increases in well-patient visits among patients at high-risk for obesity related chronic illnesses.