Published on February 20, 2019


AMES, Iowa – Mary Greeley Medical Center was awarded a State Innovation Model-Iowa grant that will help support healthier eating in Ames and Story County.

The grant is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s State Innovation Model initiative and was awarded by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). Mary Greeley will use the grant to support several local agencies, including Primary Health Care, the Mustard Seed Community Farm, Salvation Army and Good Neighbor.

“Community health and wellness is a top priority for Mary Greeley Medical Center and this grant is going to help hundreds of people eat healthier foods,” said Brian Dieter, president and CEO of Mary Greeley.

Primary Health Care’s Farm to Clinic program provides its clients access to fruits and vegetables, as well as education about healthier eating. The clinic provides “prescriptions” for healthy foods and these prescriptions can be redeemed at the clinic’s weekly farmers market. Healthy foods for this program are obtained through shares of locally grown fruits and vegetables. With support from this grant, Primary Health Care plans to double the number of shares available for clients, expand the program into winter months, and offer other non-perishable foods, such as rice and beans.

Grant support also will enable Primary Health to purchase equipment to store food longer. Mustard Seed Farms, which provides food for Farm to Clinic, will receive grant funds to build a new greenhouse and purchase seeds. Both of these will speed up the growing process and get healthier food to recipients sooner.

"We're grateful to Mary Greeley for this generous grant that will enable our Farm to Clinic program to grow and thrive,” said Kelly Huntsman, Primary Health Care CEO. “Access to fresh vegetables and other healthy foods is often a barrier for our patients and we are glad to be able to help them overcome this obstacle by providing those foods right in our clinic lobby. It's wonderful to have a community partner like Mary Greeley to expand this program."

The grant also will fund vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables that recipients can redeem at local grocery stores. These vouchers will be distributed through the Good Neighbor program.

Salvation Army will purchase foods shares and storage equipment, allowing them to transport more food to clients through the Salvation Army’s market and food shelves locally, as well as through food pantries located throughout Story County.

Mary Greeley officials anticipate that the grant will provide direct benefits to medical center patients, as well. The medical center’s transition of care program supports chronically ill patients after they have been discharged from the hospital. A home health care nurse will visit the patient and bring fruits and vegetables with them. The nurse can also assess if the patient has the ability and tools necessary to prepare and consume these foods.

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