Wellspring Cooperative

Springfield Prescription Produce Project

Improving Health Through Food

Springfield Prescription Produce Collaborative is a new community partnership between Wellspring Cooperative, Baystate Health’s three Springfield health centers, and the Center for Research on Families at the University of Massachusetts. Medical providers prescribe healthy fruit and vegetables which can be filled at Wellspring's Go Fresh Mobile Market and other local markets. The program then monitors the health benefits. Prescription produce is part of the national “food as medicine” movement that recognizes that hunger and poor diet are barriers to good health and that increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables can improve nutrition, reduce hunger, and improve health outcomes. Beth Eagleson, from Springfield’s Brightwood Health Center and lead physician of the program, opened her presentation at Wellspring’s 2022 General by saying, “Health doesn’t happen in the doctor’s office, sick care does.” Health is rooted in quality of life, including food and quality jobs––which is why she took her medical students on a tour of Wellspring Harvest. Wellspring Cooperative is the lead organization of this program’s three-year USDA grant that contributes to a national database about produce consumption and health. At the conclusion of the grant, the goal is to develop a sustainable prescription produce program at Baystate Health