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When a patient experiencing food insecurity and an illness like diabetes comes to a clinic at Boston’s Mass General Brigham, they might leave with a prescription for fruit and vegetables. Around a week later, they’ll get a debit card in the mail that they can use to buy the produce at local grocery stores.

The card, called Fresh Connect, can automatically recognize fruit and vegetables when someone checks out at a store. It’s designed as a tool to help prevent and treat disease, and to help people who struggle to afford healthy food.

“The reason healthcare needs to get in the game, driving billions of dollars of avoidable costs, is simply because people don’t have the money in the bank to afford all the foods that they need,” says Josh Trautwein, cofounder and CEO of About Fresh, the Boston-based nonprofit that created the debit card.

At a store, shoppers bring a full cart of groceries to check out, swipe the Fresh Connect card, and it automatically covers the cost of produce before they pay the rest of the bill; the amount available varies by provider, but is often around $100 a month.

Source: Fast Company