Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Food Science and Human Nutrition

Committee Member

Margaret D Condrasky

Committee Member

Karen A Kemper

Committee Member

William C Bridges

Committee Member

Sarah F Griffin

Committee Member

Beth E Kunkel


The Produce Prescription (Rx) program served patients who utilized a local free clinic, had incomes below 200.0% of the federal poverty line, were uninsured, and had a diet-related chronic health condition. Participants received nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, recipes, and a bag of local produce (their nutrition prescription). Their nutrition prescription aimed to provide enough produce for participants to eat two servings each day for fourteen days. The hope was to improve disease management through nutrition education and the promotion of plant-based diets.

A combination of Produce Rx participants, Clemson Free Clinic personnel, healthcare professionals, patients of a separate local clinic, Clemson University undergraduate students, and farmers provided both qualitative and quantitative data via interviews, questionnaires, and chart reviews. Research covering nutrition prescription programs, similar to Produce Rx is limited. This dissertation aimed to provide information that can assist future Produce Rx programs with the creation, implementation, and evaluation of their services.

Although causation could not be applied, in general, the Produce Rx program had positive impacts on participant health, local farmers, undergraduate student knowledge, and the views of Clemson Free Clinic personnel toward the program. The program adapted to address the changing needs of the participants at the expense of certain aspects of fidelity. Overall, the program served as a pilot for similar studies and will allow them to avoid pitfalls in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of their services.



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