Espanola Farmers’ Market has partnered with the El Centro clinics for a very effective fruit and vegetables prescription program (FVRx) funded by Wholesome Wave, a foundation based in Connecticut.This grant enables the entire family of children diagnosed with diabetes or obesity to recieve a dollar per day per family member to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the participating farmers’ market. For example, a family of seven was issued a weekly prescription for $49 (7 people x 7 days) which they presented to the Market staff for wooden tokens, then used those tokens to buy fruits and vegetables from many farmer/vendors.

Last season, about 20 families participated fully in this program. The Market redeemed $9,330 in purchases, over 90% redemption rate. We had to report the prescriptions weekly, listing the number of wooden tokens issued, the number redeemed and the code number of the prescription. The clinic was also reporting weekly, with coded data related to measurable heath monitoring to evaluate any improvement resulting from four months of eating more freshly grown food. This accumulation of statistics is what makes the Wholesome Wave FVRx program unique and effective. They are accumulating health data to be able to prove what we know intuitively, that eating healthy food improves health.

This could potentially result in more funding throughout the country for preventative care under Obama’s health plans. Espanola Farmers’ Market & El Centro were the only market/clinic partnership to recieve this grant in New Mexico and only one of two rural markets in the country for this program. Most partners were in northeastern low income urban areas.

We have been invited to apply again for this season and have already been collaborating on building a more effective program, including printing bilingual recipe cards for farmers to distribute at their tables and having El Centro health workers at the Monday Market to guide the patients in their vegetable purchases and to provide other health information to our customers.

Sabra Moore, Market Manager

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