Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

A diet that includes fruits and vegetables is important to health, but is not affordable to all. 

We partnered with food-systems thought leader Wholesome Wave to pilot the innovative Fruit and Vegetable Prescription ProgramTM (FVRxTM) in Minnesota. 

The program, based on research that shows a strong tie between healthy eating and affordability of healthy foods, allows doctors to “prescribe” fruits and vegetables for patients. These prescriptions can be redeemed at grocery stores or farmers markets for fresh produce. Prescription values are scaled based on the size of the patient’s family, and are refillable monthly for four months. Patients will also receive monthly advice from a nutritionist to support healthy eating.

The Center for Prevention and Wholesome Wave partnered with Coborn's to test a first-in-the-nation model that allows doctors to prescribe and provide vouchers for free fruits and vegetables as a means for improving health.

Wholesome Wave has successfully piloted the program in New York, Massachusetts and California with farmers markets and a focus on overweight children and pregnant women. The Center for Prevention is the exclusive partner of Wholesome Wave in Minnesota. The 2014 Minnesota pilot (FVRx MN) was the first in the nation to test the FVRx model with adults who are diabetic, and in a grocery store setting.

In North Minneapolis, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center issued prescriptions redeemable at the West Broadway Business Area Coalition Farmers Market. In Melrose, Minn., the CentraCare clinic issued prescriptions redeemable at the Melrose Coborn’s grocery store. The FVRx Minnesota pilot ran from June to October 2014.

Information collected and analyzed included the effect of the FVRx MN program on the patients’ health, the value the program brings to clinics and what factors improve or interfere with the incorporation of community prevention into health care.

  • Making Healthy Choices Possible for All Minnesotans

    The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota tackles the leading causes of preventable disease -- tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating -- to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state.