Windy City Harvest Veggie Rx
Food As Medicine
Veggie Rx is a cooperative program developed by the Garden, Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC), and the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion (CPHP) to help patients with diet-related diseases who are also food insecure. Located in Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood, the Farm On Ogden is the distribution center where Veggie Rx packages, grown and packed by Windy City Harvest trainees, are prescribed by LCHC providers to patients along with weekly nutrition education and cooking lessons from CPHP.
“Veggie Rx is a program that allows us to write prescriptions for food for our patients. In North Lawndale, for instance, the rate of diabetes is 50 percent higher than the national average; 41 percent of our residents have high blood pressure. Rather than address their medical problems with a pill, we are introducing lifestyle changes to impact health. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are directly related to what we eat.”– Dr. Wayne Detmer, chief clinical officer, operations, at (LCHC)
We are thankful for the collaborators that helped make Veggie Rx possible. If you are interested in becoming a healthcare partner, please contact Eliza Fournier.
“I appreciate the box and the program. The box helps me to provide good nutrition to my kids and myself and I'm thankful because it's expensive to eat healthy. I can’t afford to eat healthy as often as I’d like because of the prices and availability in my neighborhood. The program gives me valuable information that I can understand and incorporate in meals at home for my family.” –Veggie Rx Survey Participant
“The box is helpful. Me and my grandkids used all the vegetables every week." –Veggie Rx Survey Participant
What's Included in a Package
Veggie Rx participant survey results stated that price was the number one barrier preventing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, so coupons are included in Veggie Rx packages for free produce at the facility's indoor farmers' market. Eighty percent of participants said they eat more than half their Veggie Rx package weekly, and more than half visit the farmers' market.
Example box/bag contents, $15 value:
- 1 bundle of kale
- 1 bundle of collards
- 1 bundle of beets
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 squash
- 2 onions