Clinic in Painesville prescribes fruits and vegetables to prevent illness

Patients get $5 farmer's market voucher

PAINESVILLE, Ohio - When Ron Brow goes grocery shopping these days he knows why it's important for him to spend a little more time in the produce section.

"My blood pressure is maintained now," Brow said. "My heart's at a regular rhythm. I'm starting to feel better. I'm not as out of breath as I used to be."

His improved better health is due in part to ACHIEVE Wellness, a pilot program at the Lake County Free Clinic in Painesville. Now, when people like Brow come for treatment or checkups, they might be prescribed something other than medication.

"We actually prescribe fruits and vegetables just like we prescribe medication," said Clinic Executive Director Johanna Henz.

To provide some incentive for people to actually go out and shop healthier, the clinic, in cooperation with the Lake County General Health District, is distributing $5 vouchers that can be redeemed at farmer's markets in Painesville and Mentor that provide produce to them.

The clinic has distributed more than two dozen vouchers, many of which have been already redeemed.

Later this year, the clinic will evaluate how the veggie voucher program was received. If continued next year, the ACHIEVE Wellness program could begin distributing the vouchers starting in the spring.

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