Participants’ Experiences With a Community Based Participatory Research Produce Prescription Program: Findings From a Qualitative Study

2/12/2024 –



The purpose of this study was to explore a food-insecure, low income, predominantly African American community’s experiences with a produce prescription program (PPP).


Researchers conducted 3 focus groups and 4 individual interviews with Maywood Veggie Rx (VRxM) participants asking questions about the logistics of the program while also exploring ideas around health, food, and community.


This produce prescription program took place in Maywood, Illinois which is an urban underserved community with 23.5 K people, most of whom are Black/African American (61%) and Hispanic (32%).


The 24 participants interviewed through focus groups and individual interviews were enrolled in the 2021-2022 VRxM program. Participants were mainly female, with only three participants being males. Ages ranged between 34 and 74 years of age with a mean age of 56.3.


Qualitative data from transcripts were then coded via a grounded theory approach to identify common themes.


A research team of seven including the two Co-PIs, three medical students and two dietetic interns identified 278 codes which were then condensed into 117 codes and then placed into 9 categories. Researchers identified three recurrent themes among the experiences of VRxM participants: (1) trust building, (2) culturally relevant and adaptive nutrition education, and (3) bidirectional feedback. These three themes mirror many of the principles of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR).


The study findings identify common themes among the experiences of VRxM which are in line with the collaborative approach of CBPR principles. Produce Prescription Programs should utilize CBPR principles in the creation and implementation of programming to improve the participant experience. Future research should include additional focus groups on new iterations of VRxM and should also include those people who chose not to participate in VRxM to explore barriers to participation.

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