Increasing the availability of fresh produce and nutritional and public health education to a low-income, minority population

A recent nutrition-mapping project found that of the 43 stores and restaurants in Central Harlem, only 4 offered fresh produce. National experts believe that lack of access to fresh produce is a major contributing factor to the growing problem of childhood obesity, particularly in low-income communities. Within Central Harlem, recent assessments have found that 44.5 percent of Central Harlem's children are above normal weight and 27.9 percent are classified as obese.The purpose of this project is to assist the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) -- a social service organization that serves approximately 8,600 children and 3,900 adults in Harlem -- to provide residents with healthier food options. HCZ and New York State farmers will open a green market in the cafeteria of its new community center. Partners will include agencies that have operated green and mobile markets and provided nutrition education programs to New York City residents for many years. Increasing access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods in a diverse, low-income community is the focus of this project. An ecological approach calls for bolstering individual skills and choices with support from the social (organizations, cultures, family), physical, and policy environments of neighborhoods, communities, and governments. The project will be considered successful if it establishes a distribution center for fresh produce in Central Harlem, and informs the Foundation's approach to reducing obesity and overweight in low-income communities. Researchers at Columbia Hospital will assist HCZ in conducting pre- and post-surveys to document whether there is a significant increase in children's and adults' intake of fresh produce. The project will also document any changes in baseline measures of body mass index. Project deliverables include a report on project implementation and accomplishments.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $50,000.00

Awarded on: 11/14/2005

Time frame: 12/1/2005 - 11/30/2006

Grant Number: 53541


Harlem Children's Zone Inc.

35 East 125th Street
New York, 10035-1816


William Norris
Project Director