Healthy Neighborhoods

Nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers are facing hunger and for many people that City Harvest serves, healthy food is unavailable and unaffordable. In turn, diseases related to poor nutrition – including diabetes and heart disease – tend to be concentrated where demand for emergency food is greatest.

As a natural extension of the anti-hunger work we began more than 30 years ago, City Harvest developed Healthy Neighborhoods programs to respond to the need for emergency food, improve access to fruits and vegetables for residents in low-income communities and provide nutrition education that will inspire affordable, healthy meal choices. Through our Healthy Neighborhoods programs, City Harvest partners with residents, community organizations, afterschool programs, and local businesses. Together we work to achieve a long-term impact in the fight against hunger by engaging residents in healthy choices and enhancing the local food landscape. Building off our nutrition education classes which began in 2000, and our Mobile Markets which began in 2004, City Harvest has since expanded Healthy Neighborhoods programs to high-need communities across the five boroughs.

To see how our Healthy Neighborhoods programs work, click here.

Our Healthy Neighborhoods in New York City

Healthy Neighborhoods programs target five low-income neighborhoods of New York City, one in each borough:

  • Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn
  • South Bronx
  • Washington Heights/Inwood in Manhattan
  • Northwest Queens
  • North Shore of Staten Island

Healthy Neighborhoods programs are working to put good nutritious food on the table for New Yorkers in need, and help inspire long-term change in the fight against hunger by:

Relieving Food Insecurity

City Harvest works to provide hungry New Yorkers with nutritious, free food to feed themselves and their families.

Emergency Food: City Harvest delivers 55 million pounds of food citywide and over 16 million pounds of food to emergency food programs located in Healthy Neighborhoods. More than half of this food is produce, and soup kitchens and food pantries are then able to offer participants a variety of healthy food.

Mobile Markets: Through free, farmers market-style distributions in low-income communities across the five boroughs, City Harvest distributes around 150,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables each month. On-site cooking demonstrations offer recommendations on how to cook with produce, and health and wellness programming help members learn how to improve their health. This year, we will deliver over 2.8 million pounds of fruits and vegetables through Mobile Markets.

ACE: Through the Agency Capacity Expansion (ACE) program, City Harvest offers grants to selected emergency food programs for one-time projects to upgrade services and strengthen their ability to serve the community. In addition, City Harvest University courses on subjects such as fundraising and planning help improve agencies' core skill sets so they can serve as a stable resource for their clients.

Providing Nutrition Education and Inspiring Healthy Choices

City Harvest offers free nutrition courses and activities focused on buying, preparing and eating healthy foods.

Nutrition Education Courses: City Harvest provides free nutrition education classes for adults, families, teenagers, and senior citizens at participating community organizations, which instill the skills and confidence to prepare healthy meals.

Cooking Demonstrations: The staff and volunteers of City Harvest demonstrate healthy cooking recipes and techniques for residents at senior centers, supermarkets, corner stores, health clinics, and other community gathering places.

Shopping Workshops: Through Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters® at the Store workshops,
City Harvest teaches store customers practical tools on how to stretch food dollars and find affordable, healthy foods right in their neighborhood supermarket.

City Harvest Fruit Bowl: City Harvest introduces pre-school and afterschool students to a regular supply of fresh produce and low-fat dairy and combines a unique nutrition education program designed to teach life-long healthy eating habits to children and caregivers.

Increasing Access to Affordable, Healthy Food

City Harvest works with residents, community organizations, afterschool programs, and local businesses to raise awareness of healthy food, ensure that residents can find affordable, nutritious food in their neighborhoods and improve the overall food landscape.

Healthy Supermarkets and Corner Stores: City Harvest works with retailers to reach neighborhood residents where they shop for food. In addition to offering assistance to these food retailers to increase the quantity, quality and variety of available produce, City Harvest hosts healthy cooking demonstrations and budget shopping workshops to encourage nutritious and affordable choices right on site.

Community Networks: To build public support for healthy food outlets, and sustain change over time, City Harvest convenes Community Action Networks (CANS) in each of the Healthy Neighborhoods. These networks engage passionate and dedicated residents and retailers who are committed to improving access to healthy food choices.

Watch this video to learn more about our work increasing access to affordable, healthy foods in our Healthy Neighborhoods:

Increase Community Engagement

City Harvest trains community residents to be agents of change in their own neighborhoods. By providing residents with the tools needed to lead the fight against hunger and diet related diseases in their communities, we can ensure that there is always a presence on the front lines in each of our Healthy Neighborhoods. Community residents volunteer to lead Nutrition Education courses, manage Mobile Markets, work with corner store owners and much more.