Flip No. 3

Encourage healthy, green eating

Farmers markets and other opportunities link health to the community.

By Flip the Clinic

Getting better results in the clinic depends heavily upon what’s going on outside of it. Studies have shown that communities are extremely influential in the health of their members, impacting smoking habits, weight gain, and even happiness.

By engaging with communities instead of just individuals, clinics have the opportunity to cultivate a culture of wellbeing.

One strategy: Farmers market prescriptions, as popularized by non-profit Wholesome Wave. Since 2010, Wholesome Wave has been pairing community health providers with farmers markets in attempt to encourage overweight children at risk for diet-related diseases to eat more fruits and vegetables. When health providers give a prescription to be redeemed at a farmers market, the benefits are three-fold: Patients get more nourishing food and exposure locations that provide it, local farmers get a bump in revenue, and bonds between community members are strengthened.

Case Study

In 2012, 55 percent of participants in Wholesome Wave’s 4-6 month Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx™) ate more fresh produce during the program than before it. Of the 815 children enrolled, 38 percent had decreased their BMI as a result. Ninety percent of participants were delivered information about healthy eating, and 58 percent saw the intervention through to its end. Based on data collected the year prior, farmers markets were bringing in $8000 extra, thanks to their participation in the FVRx program.

How to write a Farmers Market Prescription

Step 1


Identify those who are most in need of healthier eating habits—overweight children, pregnant women, and those at risk for a diet-related disease.

Step 2


Write a prescription for farmers market fruits and vegetables using the Flip the Clinic prescription pad. Start with a dose of one serving of fruits and one serving of vegetables per day for the patient and each family member living at home.

Step 3

Follow Up

During the patient's next visit, ask them how it went at the farmers market and adjust the prescription accordingly.


  • Susannah Fox

    This reminds me of a “What if health care…?” tweet that Becky Wolsk wrote: “What if more Americans accepted that shopping at farmers market costs less than food courts in the long term?”

    I’ll link to the #whatifhc collection in another comment so this one doesn’t get held back.

  • Susannah Fox

    More “What if health care…?” dreams:


  • David D

    we have gone one step further and started farmers markets in our community. and then partnered with wholesome wave to make it successful!

  • Lindsey

    This is a fantastic idea. I love that the education and promotion of healthy eating can start in the healthcare setting. I feel that these days, people eat anything that is fast and convenient and it is killing people slowly, to later progress in obesity, heart disease, and cholestrol issues. I plan to start using information about my local Farmer’s Market and Health food store with my patients on discharge planning.

  • Brittany

    This is a very interesting concept. It would be amazing to see this in motion and to see if it could make a change in the community. Supporting local business and improving the health of our communities would be noting but positive change.