Petaluma Bounty, Petaluma Valley Hospital/St. Joseph Health, Petaluma Health Center, and Amy’s Kitchen Launch Produce Prescription Program At The Bounty “Farmacy”
Each week, patients of Petaluma Health Center are able to “fill” Produce Prescriptions at the Petaluma Bounty “Farmacy”, a weekly farm stand in the Petaluma Health Center (PHC) that provides sliding scale prices based on economic need for PHC patients and staff. The Produce Prescriptions are a one-time voucher for low income patients that are seeking treatment or considered high risk for diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The goal of the Produce Prescription program is to increase awareness and utilization of Local Food Access Incentives available at local farmers markets, farm stands, food banks as well as CalFresh and WIC. The various incentive programs offered in our community lower the economic barriers that have historically kept low-income customers from frequenting farmers markets and stands. The one-use Produce Prescription voucher motivates PHC patients to try a new behavior – to visit the Bounty “Farmacy” to get $10 in free produce.
While they redeem the Produce Prescription at the Bounty “Farmacy”, patients will be provided Food Resource Guides and more information on long-term Local Food Access Incentives offered in our community. Patients will increase their comfort level with the incentive process as they shop in a low-pressure environment where they can ask questions and seek additional resources. Additionally, patients will be offered tips on how to make market dollars go further, information on storage, shopping and cooking techniques, and the opportunity to meet their farmer. This experience will reinforce healthy behaviors that patients started practicing in PHC wellness groups and clinical programs.
The Produce Prescription initiative aligns well with PHC, Petaluma Valley Hospital and Petaluma Bounty’s goals to increase healthy food consumption, increase incorporation of healthy life skills taught through PHC wellness groups and nutrition sessions, increase participants’ sense of empowerment in making healthy decisions as well as making a positive impact on the local economy.
In its second year at the PHC, the Bounty “Farmacy” operates June through October and provides discounted prices (up to 50%) on produce grown at the Bounty Farm for low-income PHC patients. Petaluma Bounty is able to offer this unique incentive through a generous sponsorship by Amy’s Kitchen, a Petaluma-based and family-owned company that makes organic and non-GMO foods.
Petaluma Bounty’s Produce Prescription initiative came about through a $5,000 grant from St. Joseph Health and is part of a larger CalFresh Outreach and Educational campaign with funding and in-kind resources provided by Sonoma County Dept. of Human Services, Petaluma Peoples Services Center, Petaluma Health Center, Sonoma County Health Dept., Southern Sonoma County Health Action Chapter (CHIPA) Wellness Group, and Petaluma East and West Side Farmers’ Markets.
Petaluma Bounty, a project of Petaluma People Services Center, is a community-based project that supports people to grow their own healthy food, redistributes surplus food, provides affordable fresh food to low-income families and seniors, and promotes educational opportunities that increase healthy behaviors and lifestyles through food literacy.
Petaluma Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing primary medical care, chronic disease care, nutrition services, dental care, integrative medicine, mental health services, and wellness programs to over 20,000 residents of Southern Sonoma County.