Farm Fresh Produce Prescription

As part of Farm Fresh for Health, ASAP offers 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.

ASAP is also partnering with Mountainwise, Swain and Macon county health departments, and Empowering Mountain Food Systems to pilot an alternate product prescription model in Swain and Macon counties. Participants receive CSA-style produce boxes delivered weekly and take part in monthly gatherings with cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, and family resources. This model would be replicable in more rural communities where central farmers markets are not as accessible for all residents.

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

This process is for using Farm Fresh Produce Prescription at farmers markets in Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, and Madison counties.

Eligibility and Referral Process

We are currently accepting prescription referrals only from the healthcare practitioners, community organizations, or insurance providers listed below. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if you are eligible. 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
  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.

Referral Partners

Buncombe Co. HHS—Nurse Family Partnership: 828-250-5072
Community Family Practice: 828-254-2444
Council on Aging of Buncombe Co.: 828-277-8288
The Family Health Centers: 828-258-8681
French Broad Pediatrics: 828-348-8232
Hopscotch Health: 828-250-0898
Hot Springs Health Program: 828-649-9566
Madison County Health Department: 828-649-3531
MAHEC: 828-257-4400
Mission Health Partners—Vista Family Health: 828-687-8647
UNETE: 828-273-9065
WNCCHS: 828-285-0622

If you have Medicaid, you may also be eligible through the Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP) via Impact Health. For screening, visit the website or call 828-278-9900. For more information, call the Member Services line listed on you Medicaid card. Participating Medicaid providers include:

  • WellCare of North Carolina
  • AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (Healthy Blue)
  • UnitedHealthcare

Redeeming Your Prescription

You may redeem your Farm Fresh Produce Prescription weekly at any participating farmers market (see a list of markets). The amount ($20–60) depends on household size. Present your Prescription Identification Number at the market information booth in exchange for Farm Fresh Bucks. These are wooden tokens that you can use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from any produce vendor at the market. Farm Fresh Bucks do not expire and may be used on other visits or at other markets.

For more information or to receive your unique Prescription Identification Number, call (828) 222-0370.

Participating Farmers Markets

Produce Prescription markets are located in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Haywood counties. You may redeem your Farm Fresh Produce Prescription or shop with Farm Fresh Bucks at any of these markets. Get location, dates, hours, vendor, and other details at the link.

Helpful tips: A Guide to Visiting the Farmers Market (Una Guía Para Su Visita al Mercado de Agricultores)

ART Bus Passes

Asheville Rides Transit

Most farmers markets in Asheville are accessible via ART bus lines. View a bus map with farmers market locations. ART Transit Ticketbooks, which are good for 11 bus fares, are available for enrolled participants in the Farm Fresh Produce Prescription. To request one, contact (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, participating physician

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