The idea is pretty simple: prescribe fresh produce for conditions that are diet-related.
The new vegetable prescription program launching in Johnson County is a collaboration between food pantries in Coralville, North Liberty, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and local farmers. These agencies hope the pilot program will better address conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Jenna Wahba is one of the University of Iowa medical students involved in the project, and she says the program will help bridge gaps between providers and patients.
"The disconnect is kind of, 'Do patients actually have the means of accessing fresh fruits and vegetables? Do they have the means to actually take time out of their day and go run or do physical activity? These are the things that are much harder to address, especially when you talk about lower socio-economic status for these individuals.'"
Forty food pantry clients will be selected to get fresh produce and invidualized health counseling. Organizers are screening clients this fall and hope to begin prescribing by April.