Lansing, MI– The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) hosted the first Legislative Education Day for Produce Prescription programs on November 8, 2023.
Produce Prescription programs are financial incentive programs that help equitably address barriers to accessing fruits and vegetables, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and improve health outcomes. There are approximately 20 Produce Prescription programs currently operating in Michigan serving residents in over 40 counties.
While program formats vary, participants are typically prescribed fruit and vegetable consumption by their healthcare provider and receive either food box distributions on a set schedule, or vouchers or cards to redeem for fresh fruits and vegetables of their choice at a specified food retailer like a farmers market or grocery store. Many programs also include nutrition education to further support healthy behavior changes. Program outcomes include increased fruit and vegetable intake, increased nutritional knowledge and healthy eating skills, decreased food insecurity, improvements in self-reported health outcomes, and improvements in patient health metrics (such as improved HbA1c levels in individuals with diabetes).
In total, twenty-nine legislative meetings were held throughout the day representing districts across the state. The focus of these conversations was on raising awareness of the programs and educating legislators on how and why they should support these programs in the future. MIFMA Produce Prescription Program Manager Bella Pagogna explains, “It is important to start the conversation now so we can start to build those relationships and familiarize legislators with programs operating in their district and the impacts those programs are having on their constituents so that they can be prepared to support future policy asks.”
To learn more about Produce Prescriptions programs in Michigan and about ways to get involved in your community, please visit the MIFMA website at mifma.org/PPR.
Produce Prescription program advocates participating in Legislative Education Day at the Michigan State Capitol Building November 8, 2023.