Building on previous funding from the Kresge Foundation, Washtenaw County commissioners gave initial approval on Feb. 19, 2014 to
apply for accept a two-year $226,357 ”Prescription for Health” grant from the nonprofit. It will fund a part-time staff position and requires a $54,250 match from the county’s public health department. A final vote is expected at the county board’s March 5 meeting.
The county’s previous funding for this program was a two-year, $361,519 Kresge grant from Jan. 1, 2011 through Dec. 13, 2012. According to the program’s website, the purpose is ”to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among patients with low income, and to build capacity of clinics to expand the traditional medical model to include the food system.” The program also aims to strengthen relationships between clinics, farmers markets and the local food system. [.pdf of grant application]
According to a staff memo, analysis of feedback from 930 participants in 2011-2012 showed the following results:
Both years, the average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables increased by nearly one cup per day among patients who visited their local farmers market as measured by a pre- and post-program survey.
Participants overwhelmingly agreed that visiting the farmers market helped them and/or their family members eat more fruits and vegetables (96% Year 1; 94% Year 2).
Participants increased their awareness of other resources in the community. Both years, the number of participants who said they were aware that food stamps (Bridge/EBT cards) could be used at local farmers markets greatly increased from pre- to post-program (48% difference from pre to post Year 1; 43% difference Year 2).
Participants indicated that they were very likely to visit the farmers market again in the future at the conclusion of the program (98% Year 1; 97% Year 2).
The program had a positive economic impact on the local farmers markets, generating over $26,000 in new sales ($5,967 Year 1; $20,279 Year 2). Prescription for Health represented 9% of total sales at the Downtown Ypsilanti Market and accounted for 23% of the total sales at the Chelsea Bushel Basket Market.
This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]