Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Joshua Slotnick

Committee Co-chair

Neva Hassanein

Commitee Members

Blakely Brown


Community Health, Health Promotion, Missoula, Sustainable Agriculture, Nutrition Incentives


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


The Missoula Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Produce program (MFVPP) started in 2015 as a partnership between Garden City Harvest (a Missoula, MT food-security non-profit) and the Providence Endocrinology Center (a local health clinic focused on diabetes care). MVFPP allows physicians, physician assistants, and dieticians to prescribe fresh produce to their patients. Patients must be of low income and suffer from chronic disease. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the MFVPP to lead to improved biometric measurements for patients. This paper also discusses the program’s limitations and complications and aims to chart a path forward for program stakeholders.

Patients received $20 each month in the form of vouchers to spend at MFVPP market stands, and in exchange, enrolled in the 18-week program. The MFVPP addressed food access issues for patients by subsidizing the cost of produce these patients could obtain through the program. Patients met at market stands on Monday and Thursday evenings (4:30-6:30PM) from June 6th-October 5th, 2017. Most weeks, two MFVPP staff were present at each farm stand. Patients provided contact information and were measured for biometric variables (height, weight, blood pressure, and waist circumference) and filled out a demographic survey as time allowed. The biometric data we collected was inconclusive as to the MVFPP effectiveness in improving specific health measures.

Forty patients enrolled in the MFVPP. We tracked patient participation and retention information. In addition, I interviewed some of the participants at the end of the program to learn about their experiences. I coded the interview data and analyzed for common themes. Forty patients enrolled in the MFVPP. The Interview results showed the MFVPP did not entirely eliminate barriers to accessing fresh produce, but did reduce some barriers, such as cost, during the farming season. Participants also reported trying new produce as a result of the program, and they described positive interactions with their health care providers as a result of the program.

After interacting with MFVPP patients and providers for 20 weeks, and analyzing the data from interviews with patients, I recommend the program recruit additional providers and provider networks, establish a cohort model of enrollment, increase their program inputs, and hire a program coordinator.



© Copyright 2019 Harley Fredriksen