Robin Seaton JeffersonFormer ContributorRetirement

The Greek physician and father of medicine said it best. “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”

There’s a reason he’s called the father of medicine. Hippocrates somehow knew over 2,000 years ago that illness had a physical and a rational explanation and that what we put into our bodies has huge implications for what we get out of them. Twenty-first century research is proving Hippocrates was right on the money.


Enter Ashley Tyrner of Farmbox Direct and now FarmboxRX. Tyrner has penned an unprecedented deal with Vibra Health of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—the first insurance company to offer healthy fruit and vegetable boxes to its members, with an initial focus on seniors. In fact, the company is so sure that eating right can affect health outcomes, that they’re doing it for their Medicare Advantage members for free.

Through the FarmboxRX pilot program, Tyrner said she hopes to help revolutionize healthcare through healthy eating.

The daughter of an Illinois soy bean farmer who took an unintended and somewhat fortuitous route to New York City, Tyrner said she grew up with a love of agriculture. But it was being pregnant and on food stamps in California that led her to head to the other side of the country where she had dreamed of living and working since her girlhood.

Tyrner ended up moving into a four-flight walk-up in New York City with a three-month-old baby in tow. Initially she took a job in fashion. But her agricultural roots began to pull at her, when she realized that some 700,000 people in New York City and the Bronx live in a “food desert.” And she thought that if people could get coffee delivered to them in the middle of the night in the Big Apple, why not good food? (The USDA defines food deserts as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful whole foods.)

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