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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.

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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 HER 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.

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REFERRAL PARTNERS

 

What else does this program do?

As mentioned previously, one goal of this program is to support local farmers and promote the inclusion and increased access of local produce for residents.  As a result, the UPFAM program includes infrastructure development in the form of cold food storage units made available to partnering farms.  The additional storage will help to increase access to local, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods and extend the growing season,  capacity and economic impact of local producers.

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT COLD FOOD STORAGE AND HOW TO APPLY FOR A UNIT

CLICK HERE FOR MARKET MANAGER AND FARMER FAQ

 

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

-Education

  • 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

 

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Contact

906-786-4701

Physical Address: 2501 14th Avenue South

Mailing Address: PO Box 606

Escanaba, Michigan 49829

upcapinfo@upcap.org


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