CareOregon developed Food Rx as an innovative way to use food and nutrition to improve the health, healing and well-being of its members. The program was initially conceived as a pilot project where patients could use vouchers to get fresh groceries at a food-filled trolley operated by Whole Foods. 

The original pilot program, scheduled for six weeks in 2014, stayed in operation for six months. Since then, CareOregon has expanded its offerings to connect its members to better nutrition, including: 

Cooking Matters® classes, a set of free classes which teaches basic cooking techniques and savvy shopping skills that enable members to stretch their food dollars and prepare nutritious meals; 

Curative Nutrition, a program to provide extra protein and calories to members who have a wound or burn which isn’t healing properly owing in part to poor nutrition; and

The Gleaning Collaborative, which distributes about 300 pounds of fresh foods each week to 10 different low-income apartment buildings in downtown Portland.

Here’s a video on how the original Food Rx program helped CareOregon members: