Examining Feasibility of Mentoring Families at a Farmers' Market and Community Garden

Daniel George, Monica Manglani, Kaitlin Minnehan, Alexander Chacon, Alexandra Gundersen, Cheryl Dellasega, Jennifer Kraschnewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Fruit and vegetable prescription (FVRx) programs provide “prescriptions” for produce, but increased access to nutritional food may be insufficient for long-term behavior change. Purpose: We integrated nutritional education into an FVRx program at a farmers' market and community garden at Penn State Medical Center by pairing medical student “mentors” with 4 families with overweight/obese children. Methods: Each head of household completed a presurvey that included basic demographic information, as well as a question about barriers to healthy eating. Families made up to 4 visits to the market with mentors, during which students discussed and documented produce utilization. A 1-hour focus group with mentors was conducted and transcribed. Thematic analysis was performed on qualitative data. Results: Two families completed all visits. On average, families spent 32 minutes at the market/garden per visit, had expenditures of $40.68, and reported one weekly produce item going unused. Families valued on-site mentoring, and students felt that it provided opportunities for professional development and improved self-care while also benefiting vendors. Discussion: Integrating medical student nutritional mentoring into an FVRx program was feasible and conferred benefits to participating families, students, and vendors. Translation to Health Education Practice: Educators should consider pairing access to nutritional foods with mentoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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