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Interventions to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables
As we work to put together a 2013 report on Double Value Produce Perks program at farmers' markets - FPC has been looking at several resources that can communicate the impact of Cuyahoga, our region, and the state on increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income residents. State and local partners representing Public Health, Jobs and Family Services, and Agriculture have assisted us in looking at SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka "food stamps") purchases, farmers' market administration/management, and poverty data to allow us to consider how our program in Cuyahoga impacts the region and stands to inform other efforts going on in our state.
While we are still putting the final touches on our 2013 report and preparing for another year of delivering Produce Perks, we would like to share some of the great state and national resources that help us consider our efforts a bit more broadly:
Additionally, our efforts to incentivize farmers' markets visits for at-risk populations in Cuyahoga County has shown FPC that multiple interventions are needed to change behavior related to consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. With our Produce Prescription pilot this past year we have seen notable success through different intervention strategies. While Produce Perks and Produce Prescription both offer economic incentives to help increase purchases at the markets, Produce Prescription offers an additional social incentive based on provider referrels. Through interaction with health workers, participants in the program get an orientation to farmers' markets well before their first visit and are counseled on nutrition and shopping strategies during their regularly scheduled medical appointments. These interventions have contributed to 310 farmers' market visits by 42 participants in the pilot program in just 5 months. 49% of which were first-time visits to farmers' markets. FPC is working with our partners at Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Prevention Research Center to further evaluate the outcomes of this program which will be shared widely in the next month.