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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Physical Address: 2501 14th Avenue South

Mailing Address: PO Box 606

Escanaba, Michigan 49829


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