As part of Farm Fresh for Health, ASAP is introducing the Farm Fresh Produce Prescription. Participating healthcare providers can prescribe patients more fresh fruits and vegetables to help treat or prevent diet-related illness. Patients redeem their prescription at a local farmers market or through a local produce delivery service or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.
The prescription incentive provides healthcare providers with action steps that fit within the healthcare process. Social environments significantly impact food choices and are a crucial intervention point to increase healthy eating. Farmers markets naturally offer environments that encourage eating fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables, cooking at home, and eating together with friends and family.
How It Works
Screening and Referral Process
Participating healthcare providers screen patients for program eligibility. Eligible patients are those who suffer from or are at risk of developing a diet-related condition AND meet one of the following criteria: 1) eligible for a federal supplemental nutrition program such as SNAP or free and reduced lunch, or 2) enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. Healthcare providers submit a referral to ASAP via the NCCARE360 UniteUs app. ASAP will follow up directly with a unique Prescription Identification Number.
ASAP is currently partnering with MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center) to offer produce prescriptions. Talk to your MAHEC healthcare provider to find out if you are eligible.
Fulfilling Your Prescription
Farm Fresh Produce Prescriptions can be redeemed weekly. The value of the prescription depends on household size.
- 1-2 members = $20
- 3-4 members = $40
- 5+ members = $60
Prescriptions can currently be redeemed at the farmers markets listed below. This list is being updated regularly, so check back for changes.
- Asheville City Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon
- Enka-Candler Tailgate Market, Thursdays, 3-6 p.m.
- Hendersonville Farmers Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Mills River Farmers Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
- North Asheville Tailgate Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon
- River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville: Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.
- Weaverville Tailgate Market, Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.
At the information booth, give the market manager the Prescription Identification Number to receive Farm Fresh Bucks. Farm Fresh Bucks may be used to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables from any vendor at the market selling those products. Farm Fresh Bucks do not expire and may also be used at the following markets in addition to the markets listed above.
- West Asheville Tailgate Market, Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30 p.m.
- East Asheville Tailgate Market, Fridays, 3-6 p.m.
- Southside Community Farmers Market, First Sundays monthly (exception in July), 12-3 p.m.
All of the participating markets also accept SNAP/EBT and offer Double SNAP for Fruits and Vegetables!
For more information about Farm Fresh Produce Prescription or to receive your unique Prescription Identification Number and begin redeeming your prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables, contact Larissa Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828) 222-0370.
“Fresh food isn’t easily accessible for many people, and ten dollars of fresh produce makes a huge difference. If they don’t know how to cook, I list foods available at the market that can be enjoyed raw, like bell peppers and tomatoes or even a cup of coffee or popsicle. Getting there is the most important part. This prescription program gives people that incentive and motivation to come back the next week.” (Read the full interview.)—Dr. Sydney Hendry, one of the participating physicians in the pilot prescription program
In summer 2021, ASAP worked with nine physicians from Lantern Health, The Family Health Centers, and WNC Community Health Center to pilot a more limited version of the prescription program. Participating physicians prescribed farmers market visit to their patients. Prescriptions were redeemable for $10 a week for eight weeks. In just over three months, over 150 prescription coupons were redeemed. As a result, over $1,500 was spent at farmers’ booths and approximately 40 families brought home additional fresh, local fruits and vegetables.