A program that offers healthy food instead of a prescription is taking off. Food is medicine is a movement with advocates across the US, but it has the strongest foothold in California. The plan is to make citizens more healthy and happy and to also lower the costs of national and state-run healthcare programs such as Medicare, MediCal, and Medicaid.
The first program began in 2016 in San Francisco. It was a “food pharmacy” program. Now all 58 counties in the Golden State offer 2-14 such food prescription programs. In an effort to bring produce to primary care, medically tailored foods aim to help those with diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, food insecurity, and other chronic diseases. The program offers fresh produce on a regular basis, recipes and live cooking classes.