What We Do at Farming for Life

Farming for Life is a new program developed by the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) to explore the “food as medicine” concept in the context of type 2 diabetes and food insecurity. In this program, locally grown organic vegetables from Fairview Gardens and John Givens Organic Farm will be prescribed by physicians to low-income Latino people with type 2 diabetes once a week for twelve weeks. Participants will receive and fulfill all prescriptions at the Food Farmacy housed within the Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara. Blood glucose and other health and socioeconomic metrics will be collected at the beginning and end of the program to assess overall success.

The Vision

For both prevention and management of diabetes, healthy food choices are a cornerstone of good care. Farming for Life aims to remove the burden of diabetes by providing medical prescriptions of vegetables to both prevent diabetes and positively impact those already living with the condition.

The Strategy

Farming for Life participants meet with program staff at the beginning of the program for a basic health and wellness assessment. Blood pressure, weight, blood sugar and waist circumference are measured at this time. Participants are then given a prescription for 10 weeks of organic vegetables, at no cost. Vegetables are collected by participants at a local vegetable distribution center, such as the Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara. Vegetables are locally sourced from Fairview Gardens and John Givens Farm and picked fresh every week. Participants then bring these vegetables back to their homes and cook delicious, veggie-packed meals.

The Benefits


  • Lost Weight helps many people achieve better diabetes control without the need for additional expensive medicines
  • Dropped Inches around the waist protects the heart
  • Reduced Blood Pressure reduces the risk of heart disease stroke and diabetes complications


  • Savings, as a weekly dose of brand name diabetes drugs cost much less than a weekly dose of brand name diabetes drugs
  • Increased food security thanks to weekly access to fresh vegetables


  • Demand for produce increases for the agricultural industry
  • Local farms source the vegetables, decreasing transportation costs
  • Vegetable farming increases as environmentally-expensive meat production decreases

Is Farming For Life Right For You?

Farming for Life is a program for individuals with or at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Not sure if you are at high risk of type 2 diabetes? Take this online test to find out:


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