Corbin Hill Food Project: Produce Prescription Program Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: The Food as Medicine (FAM) project, led by Corbin Hill Food Project (CHFP), will aggregate and distribute boxes of fresh produce to 260 families in the Bronx and Harlem twice a month for up to a year. FAM aims to reach underserved, low-income, marginalized populations in primarily BIPOC/immigrant communities. Low-income and food-insecure patients from Mount Sinai Health System and the Institute for Family Health‘s Bronx Health REACH Project who reside in the Bronx and Harlem are eligible to participate.

Participants will pay $2.50 per week, using either SNAP dollars or cash, to pick up bi-monthly produce boxes provided by The Common Market, a regional wholesale distributor, at designated sites in the South Bronx or Harlem. The boxes are valued at $35 and will include five to eight seasonal, local items such as fruit (apples, pears, peaches, plums), root vegetables or starch (carrots, potatoes, yams), leafy greens (kale, collard greens, microgreens, celery, cabbage, green beans), nightshades (peppers, eggplant, tomato), and/or alliums (onion, garlic). 

Data regarding participants’ household food security and dietary behaviors will be collected at baseline and at the end of the year-long program in order to measure change. The survey includes questions about SNAP usage, fruit and vegetable consumption, food security, and perceptions of health status. The long-term goal of the project is to reduce participants’ healthcare use and costs. 

How they do it: Corbin Hill Food Project is partnering with Mount Sinai Health System, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Institute for Family Health‘s Bronx Health REACH Project to implement the project, which is funded by USDA. Recruitment efforts will take place at Mount Sinai and Bronx Health REACH sites. A coordinator will reach out to interested patients and enroll them in the program for six months with an option to renew for another six months. 

CHFP was granted an additional $500,000 innovations grant to improve its programming. Within this second grant, CHFP has expanded its partnerships to include Fortune Society and Harlem Wellness Center and has funded a home-delivery program, a participant-led Community Council, food and nutrition education classes with Yadi Garcia of Happy Healthy Latina, and a gifting program that allows participants to give produce boxes to others in the community.   

Mission: To measure the impact of a produce prescription program to reduce food insecurity and improve health in Black and Latinx, low-income, marginalized communities. Part of the larger goal is to collect data that will provide the basis for including food as medicine in Medicaid funding. CHFP wants to reframe food as medicine from a community perspective rather than relying solely on clinicians, hospitals, or insurance companies to decide what “healthy” means for the community.

Major Funding: Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program Produce Prescription grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit/social enterprise

Annual Budget: $966,500 ($466,500 from the Produce Prescription Grant and $500,000 from the Innovations Grant)

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: CHFP strives to make their programs as inclusive as possible and meet the needs of low-income, BIPOC, and immigrant communities by minimizing barriers and giving program participants both choice and agency. Communities are rarely involved in the decision-making processes regarding their health and the options available to them. CHFP wants the community to define food as medicine and allow everyone to receive culturally appropriate, acceptable, fresh, nutritious food with dignity and respect.


Produce Prescription Grant sites:
Stevenson Family Health Center
731 White Plains Road 
Bronx, NY 10473 

Walton Family Health Center
1894 Walton Ave
The Bronx, NY 10453

Innovation Grant additional sites:
Mandela Housing
1074 Washington Ave
The Bronx, NY 10456

Castle Gardens
625 W 140th St
New York, NY 10031

Harlem Wellness Center
1351 Amsterdam Avenue 
New York, NY 10027

Core Programs: Produce prescription/farm share program/wholesale program

Number of staff: 9

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: South Bronx and Harlem, New York

Year Started: Not yet started

President: Dennis Derryck

Contact Information: 
Norma Gonzalez, Program Lead

Rebecca Valdez, Communications

Learn More:

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