Farm Fresh Produce Prescription

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) and Sona Pharmacy to offer produce prescriptions. If you are a patient at MAHEC, talk to your healthcare provider to find out if you are eligible. If you are a patient enrolled in Sona’s Medication Support Program, Sona Access, email info@sonapharmacy.com to find out if you are eligible. 

ASAP’s Farm Fresh Produce Prescription is also available as a service of Healthy Opportunities Pilot with select Medicaid insurance providers, listed below. If you think you may be eligible for this program, call the Member Services line listed on your Medicaid card to begin the eligibility assessment and be referred to this program. 

  • WellCare of North Carolina – 866-799-5318
  • AmeriHealth Caritas – 855-375-8811
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (Healthy Blue) – 844-594-5070
  • UnitedHealthcare – 800-349-1855
Sona Pharmacy

Filling Your Prescription

Farm Fresh Produce Prescriptions can be redeemed weekly. The value of the prescription depends on household size.

  • 1-2 members = $20/week
  • 3-4 members = $40/week
  • 5+ members = $60/week

Farmers Markets

Redeem your prescription at one of the participating farmers markets listed below. Present your Prescription Identification Number to the staff person 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.

Farm Fresh Bucks may also be used at the following markets, though you cannot currently redeem your prescription here.

All participating markets can also accept Caja Solidaria’s Produce Prescription Program. In addition, all markets accept SNAP/EBT and offer Double SNAP for Fruits and Vegetables.

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 Prescription Program. To request one, contact Larissa Lopez at llopez@asapconnections.org or (828) 222-0370.

The AVL Box

You may also redeem your prescription at theavlbox.com. Navigate to SHOP and select the ASAP Rx Box. Select your desired quantity and frequency and then select ADD TO DELIVERY. Choose DELIVERY and enter your delivery address. Shop around for any add-ons and then checkout. Enter your Prescription Identification Number as the Discount Code at checkout. Note: If you select Every Week as your frequency, you don’t have to pay for delivery.

Resource Documents

For more information or to receive your unique Prescription Identification Number and begin redeeming your prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables, contact Larissa Lopez at llopez@asapconnections.org or (828) 222-0370.


Impact

“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 six months, over 250 prescription coupons were redeemed. As a result, over $2,500 was spent at farmers’ booths and approximately 55 families brought home additional fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

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