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Prescription for Health

PFH collage

Our Prescription for Health program connects patients to their local farmers markets 
though their medical clinics. Health care providers write "prescriptions" for their patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and patients redeem their prescriptions at the farmers market.

The program was piloted in 2008 and funding has been generously provided by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System since 2016.

How does Prescription for Health work?

Program runs June - December

  1. Clinicians identify potential participants when patients come in for a regular visit.
    A clinician reviews the patient's chart for chronic disease risk and food access difficulty. If a patient is interested, the clinician refers the patient to a group enrollment visit.
  2. Patients attend a group enrollment visit.
    The patient attends a group enrollment visit, where he/she receives information about the program and engages in a discussion about the link between health, chronic disease and food choices. The patient sets specific goals for healthy eating and receives a "prescription" for fresh fruits and vegetables. The prescription may be filled at the local farmers market and is worth a total of $100.
  3. Patients take their prescriptions to the Prescription for Health booth at the farmers market.
    Program staff provide individual nutrition education and support and give the patient $10 in tokens at each visit, up to 10 visits. The tokens can be used the same as cash at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit/vegetable plants.


Check out to see all of the markets in Washtenaw County that accept Prescription for Health and other food assistance programs.

Prescription for Health Program Implementation GuideProgram Implementation Guide

We developed a guide to assist other organizations in replicating our evidence-based fruit and vegetable prescription program. The guide contains tips on program planning, implementation, and evaluation, as well as sample materials used in our program. In addition, we developed a readiness checklist to help determine if your organization is ready to implement a similar program in your community. 

Program Evaluation and Outcomes

Washtenaw County Health Department staff conducted pre- and post-program surveys of patients and clinic staff. We also tracked patients’ use of coupons on a weekly basis throughout the season.

"[This program is a] win-win – it links people who need access to food with those who grow it locally."

-Clinic Staff Member

For More Program Information:

Ariane Reister, MPH, RD
Prescription for Health Program Coordinator
(734) 544-2969

  Media Inquiries: Please contact Susan Cerniglia at 734-544-6759 or

fruits and veggies

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