Veggie Rx Program

Gorge Grown’s Veggie Rx is a fruit and vegetable prescription program designed to address food insecurity and increase access to fresh produce. The program empowers health care and social services providers to ‘prescribe’ local produce to community members who screen positive for food insecurity.  Vouchers can then be used to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables through Gorge Farmer Collective’s online marketplace.

“For the first time in my life, I’m eating healthy!”

-Veggie Rx Recipient 

The Problem: 

1 in 3 Gorge residents worry about running out of food

1 in 5 Gorge residents run out of food

How It Works:

1. Healthcare providers screen clients for hunger

2. Clients experiencing food insecurity are enrolled in a fresh produce program

3. Local farmers supply produce for Veggie Rx participants

4.  Participants continue to receive a “dose” of fruits and vegetables while enrolled in the program

The Impact:

Increases access to fresh produce

Inspires healthier cooking and eating

Supports our local farmers and economy

How did Veggie Rx come about?

In 2014 and 2017, 40 organizations worked together to identify the top health needs in the Columbia River Gorge region. The results revealed epidemic hunger throughout all 5 counties of the Gorge.  Two discerning results showed that:

  • 1 in 3 Gorge residents worry about running out of food
  • 1 in 5 Gorge residents miss meals regularly

Gorge Grown and partners sprung into action with Veggie Rx — a program that is quickly becoming a national model for bridging health care, non-profit and food system sectors. We believe nutritious, healthy food is a cornerstone of health. 


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed the “What Works for Health Menu” of evidence-based programs and policies. Fruit and vegetable incentive programs are listed as the highest among categories of effectiveness. It is considered “scientifically supported”. Strategies with this rating are most likely to make a difference. These strategies have been tested in many robust studies with consistently positive results.

How are participants selected?

First, healthcare and social service providers at participating clinics screen patients for hunger using 2 simple “screen and intervene” questions:

1) In the last 12 months, did you and the people you live with worry that you would run out of food before you were able to get more?

2) In the last 12 months did you and the people you live with run out of food before you were able to get more?

Providers then write a ‘prescription’ for those in need. 


If you are a patient at the following location, you may be eligible to enroll in a Veggie Rx program

Where can Veggie Rx be redeemed?

Gorge Farmer Collective aggregates local produce from over 20 farms to build beautiful, seasonal produce boxes. Vouchers are not longer used for this program. 

“My kids came with me to the market. For the first time they are learning that food doesn’t just come from the refrigerator.”

-Veggie Rx Recipient 

Veggie Rx in the News
Veggie Rx Tools
Veggie Rx Funders

Current funders:

Providence Memorial Hospital Hood River 

PacificSource Coordinated Care Organization (Flexible Benefits)


Past funders:

Columbia Gorge Health Council (2014)

Hood River Rotary (2014)

North Central Public Health (2014) 

Tofurky (2014)

Washington State Farmers Market Association (2014)

Skyline Hospital (2014-2015)

Deschutes Rim Clinic (2016) 

Meyer Memorial Trust (2017)

PacificSource Community Solutions (2017/2018)

Greater Oregon Behavior Health Inc. (2018) 

One Community Health (2014 – May 2020)

Oregon Community Foundation (2014 – 2019)

United Way (2019)

Mid-Columbia Medical Center (2014-2019)

Physicians Insurance 

Asbury Redeemer Partnership 

Third Sector New England 

Food for Thought 

Many individual, private donors 


Food Access Improves Health Outcomes

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention accepted the evidence on the multiple health benefits of increasing consumption of fruits & vegetables has called for efforts to accomplish this in Healthy People 2020 (published in 2010).


Dozens of peer-reviewed studies have been conducted and published. Nutrition prescriptions are a suggested strategy to increase consumption of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables and decrease consumption of unhealthy foods, especially saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugar (TFAH-Levi 2014, US EOP-Childhood obesity 2010, Let’s Move-Eat healthy). Healthy eating and nutrition counseling, advice, and information given by physicians and other health care providers influences patient behavior (Bhattarai 2013, Dorsey 2011). In general, subsidies and financial incentives for healthy foods have been shown to increase healthy food purchases (Gittelsohn 2017, Grech 2015*, Jaime 2009*, Kocken 2012*, An 2013*, AHA-Mozaffarian 2012), which enables increased healthy food consumption (Gittelsohn 2017, An 2013*, AHA-Mozaffarian 2012);


Reports from the Wholesome Wave produce prescription (FVRx) program suggest that 69% of program participants increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption, and nearly half (47%) of participants decrease body mass index (BMI) between the first and last FVRx program health care visit (WW-FVRx, WW-Annual report 2016). FVRx participants also report increases in household food security, children’s health, knowledge about nutrition, and how to buy and prepare fresh local produce (WW-Annual report 2016).


Participants in the Gorge Grown Veggie Rx program also report improved nutritional intake, increased food security, and improved mental and physical health (PCORE-Royal 2016).