According to the 2021 Fond du Lac County health assessment, 52% of adults and 35% of students consume at least two servings of fruit on a day and 23% of adults and 17% of students consume at least three servings of vegetables in a day. The goal is to increase the fruit and vegetable intake of Fond du Lac County residents, which can contribute to prevention of overweight/obesity and chronic disease.
For the past 7-8 years, Amanda Miller has collaborated with the Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market and Living Well FDL/Fond du Lac County Public Health to implement the Small Steps Program. Small Steps is a fruit and vegetable prescription program sponsored by United HealthCare. The general idea is that fresh produce is a healthy way to address health concerns, particularly identified by medical providers.
This summer, UHC provided $2,000 total in $5 coupons that were distributed to WIC (Women, Infant and Children), the Fond du Lac Senior Center, the Boys and Girls Club, Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program, prenatal care programs, Family Connections, ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) and ADVOCAP Head Start. Recipients of the $5 vouchers were then able to redeem the prescriptions at the local farmers market.
This year resulted in a voucher redemption rate of 55%, which means that $1,095 dollars in 219 vouchers was used to access fresh farmers market produce. The planning team hopes to increase that redemption rate even more next year by helping recipients better understand the vouchers they are receiving and to understand how to use them at the farmers market.