VeggieRx program expands in Allen County
Fort Wayne-based Parkview Health is expanding its produce prescription program this year which will help provide fruits and vegetables to more people who are food insecure and have chronic health conditions, like diabetes and hypertension. VeggieRx helps increase fruit and vegetable consumption to improve health outcomes and reduce food insecurity in underserved populations.
Parkviews says participants in the program receive $50 per month for six months to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, often from local farmers markets. Members of the cohort also attend dietitian-led classes, where they learn the benefits of incorporating more produce into their diets.
This year, VeggieRx is accepting up to 425 participants for the 2023 cohort, more than doubling its size. The program had 174 participants in 2022, and 122 in 2021.
The health system has received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help support the program.
Participants must have one of the following: Diabetes or pre-diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity or at-risk pregnancy. Additionally, they must be on Medicaid, dually eligible for Medicare/Medicaid, uninsured or experiencing food insecurity.
Currently, the program is limited to Allen County residents. However, Parkview says it has received a nearly $70,000 grant to help expand the program to residents in Kosciusko, LaGrange and Huntington counties in 2024.