Communities for Healthy Food

Organization Name: LISC NYC

Project Title: Communities for Healthy Food

Project Location: Citywide

Project Goals:
It is well known that diet-related diseases, poverty, hunger and high unemployment rates plague New York City. In addition, there is an over production of calorie-dense but nutrient-poor food, and in most segments of the food chain workforce, providing low-paying jobs. These problems are all interconnected, however most proposed solutions are piecemeal and uncoordinated. LISC NYC's Communities for Healthy Food seeks to address the interrelated issues of diet-related diseases, poverty, and unemployment in four of New York City's economically challenged communities, listed below:


  • Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (partner: Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation);

  • Cypress Hills, Brooklyn (partner: Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation);

  • West Harlem (partner: West Harlem Group Assistance);

  • Mt. Eden, Bronx (partner: New Settlement Apartments)


Project Description:
The Communities for Healthy Food initiative, funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, integrates access to healthy and affordable food into every aspect of our comprehensive community development work through resident outreach, nutrition education and cooking classes, creating new or improved healthy food outlets, and generating good food-sector jobs. It accomplishes its goal in two ways. First, by tapping LISC's value as an effective community development intermediary with strong relationships with neighborhood organizations, the ability to leverage capital and programmatic funds, and a track record as a facilitator, convener and technical assistance provider. Second, by implementing this initiative through LISC's Community Development Corporation (CDC) partners who own and manage affordable housing and other commercial and community spaces, deliver an array of social and economic development programs and services and have close ties to the residents they serve.

Community Impact:
Communities for Healthy Food seeks to strengthen neighborhoods and improve the health of residents by investing in multiple, complementary programs in a single community for greater impact. Since 2014, we have provided over 400,000 pounds of emergency food to over 28,000 pantry clients, created 10 new farmers markets, farm shares, and gardens and trained and employed 54 residents as farm stand operators, farmers, and community chefs. In addition, our initiative has equipped 1,000 residents, CDC staff, and partner organizations with healthy food resources and services, enrolled 800 families in public nutrition assistance programs, hosted nutrition education and cooking classes for 650 neighborhood residents, and connected with over 10,000 residents through neighborhood outreach campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and availability of healthy food resources.

Organization Description:
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NYC is dedicated to helping low-income New York City neighborhoods become healthy communities of choice - good places to live, do business, work and raise families. LISC NYC's primary focus has historically been preserving and developing affordable housing in partnership with community development corporations (CDCs).

    Stakeholders open the Cypress Hills Farmers market

    A NEBHDCo volunteer develops her cooking skills

    NSA's Bronx Helpers prep meals in a competition

    A WHGA resident chooses healthy produce in Harlem

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