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Video Length: 1:38 Minutes

Access to fresh food turned this teenager’s life around

Imagine being sick in a doctor’s office, severely asthmatic, and significantly overweight. Now imagine your doctor writing you a prescription for fresh produce instead of pills.

This happened to Alaijah Borden four years ago, when she was just 10 years old.

Borden's doctor decided to skip the lectures about diet and exercise and instead enrolled her in an innovative program for low-income families that makes fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable and more accessible.

Called The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, it’s one of the many initiatives created by the national nonprofit Wholesome Wave. The nonprofit was created by James Beard Award-winning chef Michel Nischan and partners with hospitals, farmers markets, grocery stores, and CSAs across the nation.

Thanks to support from Newman’s Own Foundation, Wholesome Wave was able to make locally grown produce available to Alaijah Borden, her mother, Sheryl Browne, and other family members.

The results were immediate.

Borden and her family shopping at farmers market Wholesome Wave's vision is that poverty should never be an obstacle to affording fruits and vegetables. (Photo: Wholesome Wave)

“Eating more fruits and vegetables has helped me when it comes to concentrating with my classes. It has been a drastic change. I can keep up with my friends now,” Borden says.

Before enrolling in the program, Borden and her mother had spent countless days in the emergency room, due to severe asthmatic attacks. But after four years in the program, the teenager's health has dramatically improved.

“By the end of the second year, we didn’t have to go to the emergency room. By the end of the third year, she didn’t have to take steroids all year. This is really working,” Browne says.

Together with Newman’s Own Foundation, Wholesome Wave is building not just a better food system nationwide, but directly impacting the lives and health of people like Alajiah Borden.

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Wholesome Wave empowers under-served consumers to make better food choices by increasing affordable access to healthy produce.

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