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Prescription for Health

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

Prescription for Health LogoThe Prescription for Health program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and improve health among patients with lower incomes. Washtenaw County Public Health works closely with safety-net clinics in Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Milan to build systematic support for healthy behavior changes and to create stronger partnerships between health care providers and the local food sector.

How does the program 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.

 PFH implementation guide cover

Program 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. We hope you find these tools useful!

2017 Clinic Partners:


2017 Farmers Market Partners:


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

Program Evaluation and Outcomes:

Washtenaw County Public Health 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

Program History:

The Prescription for Health program began in 2008 as a pilot project. Thanks to a 2-year grant from the Kresge Foundation, the PFH program was expanded and enhanced for 2011 and 2012. We continued to refine the program in 2013, and then received an additional 2 years of funding for 2014-2015 from the Kresge Foundation. Funding has been generously provided by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System since 2016.

See our Program History page for more information about the start of the program!

Media Coverage:

See our most recent news release with 2015 results and 2016 funding announcement!


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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