Newswise — Food as Medicine Project Centers Community Needs With Additional $500K Secured for Produce Prescription Program in Upper Manhattan and Bronx

[New York, NY, October 24, 2022] - Harlem-based Corbin Hill Food Project secured an additional $500k funding for its Food as Medicine project in partnership with Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Institute for Family Health's Bronx Health REACH Project, bringing the total funding to $1M. The programmatic innovations, guided by values of food sovereignty, centers community needs through:

  • Reaching underserved, marginalized populations including the formerly justice-involved and homeless individuals through targeted partnerships with Fortune Society and Harlem Wellness Center
  • Removing transportation barriers for disabled, home-bound seniors by opening additional farm share sites directly in Harlem and Bronx housing complexes
  • Minimizing registration barriers by having pre-assessment surveys administered on site rather than requiring participants to travel to clinics
  • Enabling ongoing participant feedback through a Community Council made up of participants to guide and assess the program’s implementation
  • Expanding the program’s reach in the community via integration of live, recorded, and broadcast culturally-centered nutrition education by Bronx-native, trained natural foods Chef and Food Network star Yadi Garcia (“Happy Healthy Latina”)
  • Funding a gifting program where participants can gift a produce box to anyone without limits as to whom they chose to gift

“Together, we are reframing Food as Medicine from a community perspective rather than solely from the perspectives of clinicians, hospitals, or insurance companies in deciding what healthy means for our community,” says Dennis Derryck, Co-founder and Co-Executive Director of Corbin Hill Food Project.

“We cannot continue the status quo of treating people as only patients or consumers. Through our program, we’re attempting a new model that centers equitable access and allows communities to have a voice and make decisions regarding food programs that support their health and wellbeing,” says Derryck.

Food as Medicine is supported by a Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, Produce Prescription grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).


“We congratulate Corbin Hill Food Project and its array of innovative approaches it has brought to this NIFA Food as Medicine grant. The innovations are linked to shift power relationships while directly addressing the structural inequalities around decision-making represents one way to balance the role of clinicians and the voices of a community towards healthy eating. These efforts support our own mission to advance research to understand structural inequalities and works to identify groundbreaking ways to promote equity,” says Darrick Hamilton, University Professor, The Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, Founding Director of the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Corbin Hill Food Project on their transformative Food as Medicine program because of its innovative empowerment design and because it will substantially strengthen our food and nutrition program. Throughout our history, The Fortune Society has supported individuals who have experienced incarceration and homelessness—many in our housing programs are seniors who are all too familiar with lack of agency and choice as well as poor food options. With Food as Medicine, our Bronx and Manhattan tenants will have an opportunity to enjoy culturally appropriate, nutritious, accessible, and affordable foods that can improve their health and wellness—and they can do so on their terms," said JoAnne Page, President and CEO, The Fortune Society.

“Harlem Wellness Center is excited to continue its partnership with Corbin Hill Food Project through the Food as Medicine Program (FAM). FAM aligns with Harlem Wellness Center’s mission to close the racial health gap through access to innovative holistic wellness programs that empower individuals, strengthen communities, and create environments where all can connect, heal and thrive. A stable diet supports immune health, and is foundational for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Throughout the pandemic, Harlem Wellness Center has partnered with Corbin Hill Food Project, in distributing thousands of farm shares via senior centers, family shelters, city housing and CBOs in Upper Manhattan. Through intersecting values and interest in food security and access, we understand the ongoing and increasing need to democratize access to high quality nutrient dense foods. The Food as Medicine Program is an ambitious endeavor that propels us towards this aim,” says Vivian Williams- Kurutz, Executive Director, Harlem Wellness Center.

“The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is a proud partner to the Corbin Hill Food Project on its Food as Medicine project. This innovative grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture builds upon efforts to bridge the voices of clinicians with those of the community, and in doing so, transforms the patient-doctor relationship. Our partnership has been cultivated over the past five years in an effort to expand patient care beyond traditional medicine and include affordable access to fruits and vegetables. This program will provide fresh produce to families at our pediatric practice, to elderly residents of Harlem, and to residents living in both subsidized and supportive housing. We look forward to continuing our partnership as we address access to healthy and nutritious food that is culturally grounded,” said Robert Fields, MD, MHA, Executive Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer for the Mount Sinai Health System.

“We are thrilled to partner with Corbin Hill Food Project to increase access to fresh vegetables and fruits through Food as Medicine at two of our Institute for Family Health health centers in the Bronx. Through this partnership, providers are able to offer produce prescriptions to food insecure patients that can then be filled onsite with high quality, fresh produce on a biweekly basis. This program recognizes the importance of community-clinical relationships when it comes to the health of our patients,” said Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director at Bronx Health REACH.

“This grant enhancement and program present a unique and historic opportunity. Together we can reimagine and reframe the way in which we empower, educate and honor food equity as well as sovereignty while deeply impacting health outcomes for our community members through a lens of dignity, culturally relevant health and wellness, as well root in to the communal power already accessible when we weave a collaborative web between institutions, organizations, and community members as equal stakeholders. I look forward to partnering with each organization through Corbin Hill Food Project to provide innovative culinary and nutrition education programming that empowers participants to use food as medicine, through culturally diverse and conscious applications tailored to each site and community,” says Chef Yadira Garcia, Happy Healthy Latina.


About Corbin Hill Food Project:

Corbin Hill Food Project ( is a Black founded and led values-driven social enterprise with the mission of supplying fresh food to those who need it most and a long-term vision of food sovereignty and a wealth-building food system in communities of color. For a decade, the organization’s innovative strategy utilizes existing community assets and leverages health networks to bring farm fresh produce to underserved communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Corbin Hill distributed 4,000 boxes of food weekly over 20 weeks that translated into 540,000 fresh food boxes to NYC residents. Prior to the pandemic, Corbin Hill regularly distributed farm shares across 29 community sites in all 5 boroughs, with 66% of all farm shares distributed to households making less than 200 percent of the poverty level.


About The Fortune Society

Founded in 1967, The Fortune Society has advocated on criminal justice issues for over five decades and is nationally recognized for developing model programs that help people with criminal justice histories to be assets to their communities. Fortune offers a holistic and integrated “one-stop-shopping” model of service provision. Among the services offered are discharge planning, licensed outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS services, career development and job retention, education, family services, drop in services and supportive housing as well as lifetime access to aftercare. For more information, visit


About Harlem Wellness Center

Harlem Wellness Center Inc. (HWC) was established in 2013 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Focused at the intersection of racial, health and environmental justice, HWC’s mission is to close the racial health gap by providing access to innovative and holistic wellness programs that empower individuals, strengthen communities, and create spaces where all can connect, heal, and thrive. HWC addresses health disparity to improve the longevity and quality of life in communities most at risk and exposed to adult onset diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cad) and leading causes of death. HWC program focus areas are: 1) racial justice, 2) elder health/aging well, 3) women’s health (black maternal/infant health), 4) power of nature & eco program, 5) healthy community wellness program.

HWC removes common barriers to provide access to restorative practices, resources, tools, strategies and support for coping with life stressors for the fortification of body, mind and spirit wellness; and to support one's highest potential and aspirations. HWC’s comprehensive wellness programs are delivered through neighborhood based, community centered and broader reaching models. Certified teachers and facilitators propel HWC’s mission through activities that include yoga, group exercise, workshops, nutrition education, walks, integrative health modalities, mindfulness meditation, support groups, outdoor excursions, seminars, special workshops, wellness circles and retreats. HWC is an inclusive community working for local and global healing.


About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is internationally renowned for its outstanding research, educational and clinical care programs. It is the sole academic partner for the eight member hospitals of the Mount Sinai Health System, one of the largest academic health systems in the United States, providing care to a large and diverse patient population. It is ranked 14th nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and among the 99th percentile in research dollars per investigator according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. More than 3,000 full-time scientists, educators and clinicians work within and across 34 academic departments and 35 multidisciplinary institutes, a structure that facilitates tremendous collaboration and synergy. Icahn Mount Sinai offers highly competitive MD, PhD, and Master’s degree programs, with current enrollment of approximately 1,300 students. It has the largest graduate medical education program in the country, with more than 2,000 clinical residents and fellows training throughout the Health System. In addition, more than 550 postdoctoral research fellows are in training within the Health System. To learn more, please visit


About The Institute for Family Health's Bronx Health REACH Project:

The Bronx Health REACH Coalition ( is led by The Institute for Family Health ( Founded in 1999, Bronx Health REACH is committed to eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in the Bronx, and promotes health equity by increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy food. The Institute for Family Health is a federally qualified health center network that operates 30 community health centers in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Mid-Hudson Valley. Primary care, behavioral health care and dental services are available to people of all ages, regardless of ability to pay.


About Happy Healthy Latina

“Happy Healthy Latina” is about revolutionizing the way we view health , wellness and the connection to our food, where it comes from. Yadira Garcia is a trained natural-foods Chef and certified Integrative Health Coach, who grew up in the South Bronx of New York City. She is now leveraging her education as a community activist, educator, and Chef under the platform she created Happy Healthy Latina. Helping to address food justice, nutrition education & health inequities in NYC, especially underrepresented and underserved neighborhoods. 

Happy Healthy Latina innovative style and approach  has allowed her to work in Community and a wide variety of Media outlets with great success. She has worked with several Community Based Organizations, Public Schools, Nonprofits and Universities, as well as Bronx/NYC Urban Farms and as a culturally conscious nutrition education and food justice/equity curriculum creator & facilitator. She has been named in 2018’s Top 40 under 40 individuals working in Food Justice by Hunter Food Policy Center, sits on Columbia Universities NYCNEN Board (NYC Nutrition Exchange Network), and has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, The Chew, NY Times, NBC Latino, Healthy Cocina- an original concept produced by Zoe Saldana, Buzzfeed/ Tasty, most recently her own show on Food Network entitled “Naturally Yadi” visiting and cooking on Urban Farms where her plant-based, culturally conscious and ancestral cooking has garnered millions of views.