House of Lords Committee visits Fruit & Veg on Prescription

Last month, members of the House of Lords Food, Diet and Obesity Committee visited our Fruit & Veg on Prescription Project at the Bromley By Bow Centre as part of their ongoing inquiry into the links between food, a healthy diet and tackling obesity.

To showcase the power of Rose Vouchers as an intervention to support people who are living on low incomes to afford nutritious food, we were delighted to be joined by our project partners at the Bromley By Bow Centre and Tower Hamlets Council as well as project participants Aggie and Ruby who shared their personal stories with the group.

Aggie told the Committee:

Ruby and I go to the market together to spend our Rose Vouchers. We teach each other about the fruit and veg from our cultures and how best to cook them. I’ve even been to Ruby’s house where she’s cooked for me. I’ve eaten foods I’d never normally try and made a friend in the process!

It’s stories like Aggie’s which best demonstrate how a simple intervention that gives people the means to afford the healthy food of their choice, can not only improve their health but have much wider benefits in improving their sense of community.

We also submitted written evidence to the inquiry, highlighting the difficulties families face in affording fruit and veg and the growing international evidence of the benefits that vouchers for fruit and veg are having on improving diets and health. We made following recommendations:

  1. Make fresh fruit and vegetables affordable. Government should press forward with their existing commitment to pilot a three-year ‘Community Eatwell’ Programme, that enables GPs and social prescribers to prescribe fruit and vegetables to adults on low incomes with food-related ill-health.
  2. Give children the healthiest possible start. Government should trial a preventative approach to providing vouchers for fruit and vegetables to families on low incomes, based upon our Rose Voucher for Fruit & Veg project.
  3. Rebalance our food system. Use the revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy and any future extensions to fund vouchers for fruit and vegetables for those on low incomes to tackle food insecurity and food-related ill health.

We look forward to the Committee’s report, which will outline their recommendation for the new Government and will be published after the upcoming General Election.

If you’d like to know more about our Fruit & Veg on Prescription project, read our new report.