MISSOULA – A Providence Health Center program has been using prescription produce to help combat diabetes and poor health practices for the past four years.
Providence Health Center’s Endocrinology Department had an idea in 2015 to use fresh produce prescriptions after seeing the success of other programs like it across the country.
The hope is to promote a healthy lifestyle and give people the tools to continue those lifestyle changes.
“It’s a concept that we are kinda trying to change, do a little paradigm shift in the way people think about what they eat and we are able to give them like this year they can get $10 a week if they qualify,” Endocrinology Practice Manager RDCDE Jennifer Troupe said. “To spend not only here at the Providence Garden where it started with Garden City Harvest but also the Missoula’s Farmers Market.”
The program might have started helping people with diabetes, but its success can really prevent a wide range of diseases.
“We know produces is high in nutritional value low in calories so you look at cancer prevention obesity prevention diabetes prevention all of it. If you’re not getting fruits and vegetables in your diet in a significant amount your at risk for chronic disease period,” Troupe added.
And getting into the program isn’t too difficult
“The main requirement are that they have a providence provider either through Saint Pats Hospital or the Providence medical group clinics and that they have a financial barrier to fresh produce and then what they would need to do if they have a providence provider is ask them to put a referral in to the prescription produce program and then from there we will contact them and get them enrolled,” Troupe said.
The program has been offering fresh produce out of the Providence garden at the Providence Medical Center for four years, but now looks to expand.
Because of that expansion people in the program can now get their prescriptions filled at the Missoula Farmers Market every Tuesday and Saturday.
Officials from the program hope it continues its expansion and makes its way to the Winter Farmers Market in Missoula to the Ravalli County area, and hopefully up to Polson.
The Eagles Club has been a big financial backer of the program since the inception, and Troupe also says that Garden City Harvest has been a huge support.