Market Vouchers and Produce Prescriptions

Filling the low income plate: How Wholesome Wave is shaking up preventative health and the future of food security

At CFCC, we've long been inspired by the "Rx" approach – healthcare providers writing prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables that low-income families can redeem as vouchers at local farmer's markets. From a campaign supporting doctors working with people on disability to leverage the little-used “special diet allowance” benefit for  food, to calling for a $100 stipend for healthy food on top of social assistance rates, to providing vouchers to our own small scale markets.  More recently we’ve been inspired to use the Rx approach, that Wholesome Wave has built and scaled up. With their success and diverse approaches, Wholesome Wave has inspired us to look further at scale, the different models that can be used to get there, and how we can adapt their lessons to our own context.

In this webinar, we invited Michel Nischan, CEO & Founder of U.S.-based organization Wholesome Wave, which pioneered the Rx approach in the States, to tell us about the innovative models they have created to increase low-income communities access to healthy food, from incentive programs for people on low income to shop at markets to fruit and vegetable prescriptions and a national granting and knowledge sharing network. He shares that the best way he's found to impact policy and make lasting change in the health of low-income communities is to "shed the anger," and push through obstacles collaboratively with doctors, community organizations, and government. CFCC’s Chief Operating Officer, Kathryn Scharf, moderates the conversation.

Video from the webinar is broken into the following chapters:

1. How can farmers' markets become more welcoming to low-income communities?

2. How do farmers' market vouchers work and how did they gain momentum?

3. Tips for successful advocacy: Shed the anger

4. Advice for starting market voucher programs in our communities

Be sure to explore the resources on the right hand side of this page, including CFCC's Fruit and Vegetable Program Backgrounder  and related links shared during the webinar.