U.P. Food As Medicine

What is Food As Medicine? 

Currently, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, 1 in 7 individuals or 14% of residents are food insecure!  In 2021, an effort to address this issue and improve health and wellness of residents throughout the region, resulted in the development and implementation of The Upper Peninsula Food As Medicine (UPFAM) program.

This large collaborative effort consists of 25 partner organizations and agencies throughout the region committed to the on-going coordination and support of this initiative.  The program, generously funded by  the Superior Health Foundation of Marquette County, is based on a prescription for health model designed to address and improve food security of individuals that are at risk for or diagnosed with a chronic health condition, face economic barriers to food access and are 18 years of age or older.

If you are  interested in participating, please contact your current physician from the list of participating partners below to request a referral.  If your current health care provider is not listed, please check back as our list will be updated regularly.



How does the program work?

This program uses a referral process for enrollment.  Qualified participants receive a referral from a participating healthcare provider with a prescription for adding fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets.  All referrals are processed through the 2-1-1 call center at UPCAP and, once the referral is received, potential participants are contacted by a trained call specialist to discuss the program and complete an enrollment.

Participants enrolled into the program will receive vouchers each month to purchase fruits and vegetables from participating local farm markets (CLICK HERE FOR LIST OF MARKETS). The primary goal of the program is to increase access to fresh affordable local produce for participants and to support participant health as well as the local farm economy. Each voucher participants receive is worth $1 and they will receive a total of $15 per week during the 20-week season. Once participants are enrolled in the program they will be mailed the vouchers monthly.





What else does this program do?

A secondary goal of this program is to support local farmers and promote the inclusion and increased access of local produce for residents.  As a result, infrastructure development is a primary focus and, in the first two years of the program, funding was awarded to 13 local farms located throughout the Upper Peninsula to purchase and construct cold food storage units on their farms.  The additional storage has helped increase access to local, nutritious foods for residents, and extend the growing season, capacity and economic impact of local producers (See infrastructure impact video link below).

Currently, efforts to provide resources to local farms through infrastructure development continues with the new High Tunnel Grant Program.  Under this program, one farm from each of the regional planning districts of the Upper Peninsula will be awarded funds to build new or additional high tunnel structures on their farm (see link below for more information).

Moving forward, the UP Food As Medicine Program will continue to prioritize infrastructure development and work to identify and increase resources for local producers throughout the region.





Educational Opportunities!

As a member of the UP Food As Medicine Program, you have the opportunity to participate in nutrition education sessions provided by Michigan State University Extension Educators! The one-hour virtual sessions are held once a week for six-weeks and are currently virtual (CLICK HERE FOR A DESCRIPTION OF THE CLASS).  There is no cost to attend these sessions and participants that complete 4 of the 6 sessions can earn an additional $40 in produce vouchers! Topics covered include:

  • Quick, Healthy Meals and Snacks
  • Eating Healthy on a Budget
  • Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off
  • Making Healthy Eating Part of Your Lifestyle

And more!


How is program impact measured?

A robust evaluation including food security and health outcomes has been included in the program development.  The intent of the collection and measurement of data is to share results and lessons learned from the pilot and coordinate with statewide efforts to demonstrate Prescription for Health outcomes which may influence policy.


Will this program have a local impact?

This program will support the food security of residents, health outcomes and the economic growth of regional food in the following ways:

-Increased access

  • Use of vouchers to assist with costs associated with fresh produce
  • Cold food storage development to address capacity
  • Extension of growing season with the use of cold food storage
  • Growth of local farm markets
  • Support of the local farm economy


  • Address ways to utilize produce and understand the impact on overall health

– Evaluation

  • Understanding the impact of the program on food security and health outcomes helps to demonstrate the “return on investment” for communities
  • Positive community impact may provide opportunities for funding and expansion of program benefits

Food As Medicine Commercial

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U.P. Caregiver Resource Center

The mission of the Upper Peninsula Caregiver Resource Center is to help maintain and improve quality of life for family caregivers and those they care for by providing information, education, support and resources.


UPCAP Caregiver Resources:

  • Classes and Workshops.  Trained professionals lead a variety of classes to help caregivers provide the best care and take care of themselves, too.  Our classes are proven to work!
  • Caregiver Support.  From one-on-one caregiver consultations to connecting with other caregivers in a group setting, UPCAP offers support to caregivers in a variety of ways.
  • “North of the Bridge – A Cool Place for Caregivers” blog features articles with helpful tips and information written especially for caregivers in the Upper Peninsula, but welcoming to caregivers everywhere.
  • Trualta provides online information, support and practical advice for those caring for someone at home. 


Latest News for Caregivers:


Other Caregiver Resources: 

For more information about upcoming classes, click “Here


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U.P. 2-1-1 Call Center

“2-1-1” is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities.

Every hour of every day someone needs essential services such as assistance for a child, aging parent, or the entire family. Faced with the growing number of agencies and help-lines, individuals may have difficulty finding help because they do not know where to start or who to contact. U.P. 2-1-1 opens the door by providing easy access to needed information and assistance.

The Mission of the 2-1-1 Call Center is to provide easy accessible, responsive, and professional information and assistance to Upper Peninsula citizens and families in need.



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Long Term Care Programs

UPCAP Care Management

The Care Management Program is for older adults and/or adults with disabilities, either in a nursing facility or considering nursing home placement, wondering if in-home service can support them in their home or other community setting. Care Managers help identify problems, and sort through and arrange for those in-home long-term care services that you or your loved one may want to help maintain or increase independence.

To be eligible for Care Management, a person must meet the Nursing Facility Level of Care (LOC). An initial screening by our trained 2-1-1 Call Center staff will help determine if you or a loved one would be appropriate for a formal Care Management evaluation and LOC assessment.

If the Call Center screening indicates that you or your family member is appropriate for a formal evaluation, an in-person meeting with our Care Managers (Registered Nurse & Social Worker) will be scheduled. If the LOC criteria are met, the Care Managers will proceed with a person-centered assessment of needs and wishes to develop a Care Plan.

A Care Plan is a plan designed by you with the assistance of our Care Management staff, to meet your particular needs in the setting of your choice, with an appropriate mix of services and service providers selected by you.

Difference services that may be included in the care plan:

  • Chore Services
  • Home Delivered Meals
  • Home Modifications (accessibility)
  • Homemaker Services
  • Housing Needs (subsidized, accessible, etc.)
  • Personal Care
  • Personal Emergency Response System
  • Private Duty Nursing
  • Residential Services (AFCs & HFAs)

Follow-up is important to the success of your Care Plan. After your Care Plan has been put in motion, our Care Managers will check in with you regularly to make sure your needs are being met, and in the manner you wanted. Follow-ups occur through both in-person visits and telephone contacts.

UPCAP’s Care Management program is a statewide program funded by the Bureau of Aging, Community Living, and Supports (ACLS Bureau).


MIChoice Waiver Program

The MIChoice Waiver Program is for those over the age of 65 or adults age 18 and older who are blind or disabled, and who meet the MI Medicaid Nursing Facility Level of Care (LOC) for long-term care services in a nursing home. Persons must also meet special Medicaid financial eligibility criteria, and want their long-term care services provided in their home or other independent community setting.

An initial screening by our trained 2-1-1 Call Center staff will help determine if your or a loved one would be appropriate for a formal evaluation and LOC assessment.

If the 2-1-1 Call Center screening indicates that you or your family member are appropriate for a formal evaluation, an in-person meeting with our Care Managers (Registered Nurse & Social Worker) will be scheduled. The Care Managers will conduct the MI Medicaid Nursing Facility Level of Care (LOC) and discuss the special financial eligibility criteria you or your loved one will need to meet in order to qualify for financial assistance through the Michigan Medicaid program.

Through a person-centered planning process, UPCAP’s Care Managers will provide information on the in-home long term care services that can help maintain or increase independence. The LOC and functional assessment help identify needs and wishes that are then developed into a person-centered Care Plan.Upon your direction, Care Managers then make the arrangements for in-home services and payments to the agencies providing the services. Finally, after a Care Plan of long term care services has been put in motion, Care Managers will check with you regularly to make sure your needs are being met, and in the manner you wanted. Follow-ups occur through both in-person visits and telephone contacts.

The MI Choice Waiver program is a statewide program funded by the Bureau of Aging, Community Living, and Supports (ACLS Bureau) through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.


Nursing Facility to Home Program

Nursing Homes play a vital role in Michigan’s Long Term Care system, particularly in the area of rehabilitative services following hospitalization. Nursing homes are required to plan for the discharge of all individuals entering their facility.

Sometimes barriers get in the way and a short-term stay turns into something much longer. The longer a person stays in a nursing home, the more barriers arise to returning home. This is where UPCAP’s Nursing Facility Transition Program can help.

Nursing Facility Transition to Home Services are specifically designed to address and overcome all barriers in an effort to assist current nursing home residents to return to their home (or other community settings) where they will be able to receive their long term care services. While nursing homes provide extremely valuable long term care services, many people currently residing in a nursing home might benefit from receiving their long term care services at home or in a less restrictive setting.

UPCAP and SAIL have specially trained staff to help nursing home residents and their families determine if returning to home is a realistic and appropriate option for them. If returning home is a possibility, UPCAP’s Transition Staff have resources available to overcome the barriers currently keeping someone in a nursing home.


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Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP)

MMAP’s Mission: To educate, counsel and empower Michigan’s older adults and individuals with disabilities and those who serve them, so that they can make informed health benefit decisions.

MMAP (pronounced “map”) is a free counseling service for Medicare and/or Medicaid beneficiaries and their caregivers. MMAP counselors are not associated with any health insurance company and can provide you with unbiased information and assistance on public benefits and health insurance issues.

MMAP counselors can help you:

  • identify resources for prescription drug assistance.
  • understand doctor bills, hospital bills, and Medicare Summary Notices.
  • understand Medicaid eligibility, enrollment, coverage, claims & appeals.
  • enroll in Medicare Savings Programs to help you save money.
  • review your Medicare supplemental (“Medigap”) insurance needs, compare policies, and pursue claims and refunds.
  • explore long term care financing options-including long term care insurance.
  • report fraud & abuse; Identify and report scams, identity theft, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud and abuse.

MMAP is a free service which is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – the Administration for Community Living, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Aging and Adult Services Agency, and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. MMAP does not receive funding from, nor is it affiliated with, any insurance companies.


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U.P. Area Agency on Aging (UPAAA)

The U.P. Area Agency on Aging (UPAAA) helps to advocate for and provide services to older adults residing in the Upper Peninsula so they can lead independent, meaningful and dignified lives in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

In 1974, UPCAP was designated as the Region XI Area Agency on Aging for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Doing Business with UPCAP/UPAAA

NAPIS Assessment Training Video



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