Fresh food as medicine

1 minute read

Sometimes the most powerful ideas are the simplest. Fourteen years ago, Ashley Tyrner was pregnant and living off food stamps in a food desert in Arizona, a half hour drive from the nearest grocery store—and she didn’t have a car. That experience inspired her to start a fresh food delivery service, on a subscription model, targeting food deserts. But the boxes remained unaffordable for some, so in 2019, Tyrner launched FarmboxRx after working with Medicaid and Medicare (and commercial plans in 2025) to get the groceries covered. The insurers pay for the boxes and in return, alongside the food, FarmboxRx includes literature tailored to the members’ health needs, such as information about benefits provided by their plans that members might not otherwise be aware of—like transportation to get mammogram screenings. It’s a win-win: health plans use the boxes as a perk to increase enrollment and earn higher quality ratings, and recipients are able to dig into more nutritious meals come dinner time. In 2023, the company delivered fresh food to nearly 500,000 people across the U.S.

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