Our project utilizes a comprehensive systems approach to accelerating nutrition equity that focuses on vertical (upstream and downstream) societal impact from multiple levels: individual, interpersonal, institution / organizational, community / neighborhood, and policy. Through this model, our project is specifically designed to understanding the socioecological influence of policy on communities, institutions, families, and individuals (downstream impact) while integrating the needs of individuals, families, institutions, and communities into the policy structure (upstream impact). Subsequently, our project is specifically designed to “Accelerate Nutrition Equity” through community-based service that doubles as community-based participatory research (CBPR) to inform future policy and practice aligning with both Healthy Food, Healthy Lives strategies.
“Accelerating Nutrition Equity for a Healthier New York” / Market In The Heights
is a 24-month pilot project that will focus on small-scale implementation of accessible farmers markets throughout Harlem with an expansion arm for local community gardens, and a tailored community outreach and engagement strategy dedicated to nutrition equity.
Our project strategically leverages the use of community partners in support of a project team that includes nutritionists, dietitians, and culinary experts. From a service perspective, our team will identify target locations that focus on equitable access while also leveraging support from community landmarks organizations i.e. restaurants, health clinics, faith-based organizations, recreation centers, and non-profit organizations.
A step further, our teams will also focus on targeted farmers’ markets at places of residence (i.e. apartment complexes) and institutions that employ large swaths of the community population. This approach focuses on a “meet the community where they are” perspective which immediately improves access. A dedicated schedule will help facilitate each farmers’ market. Subsequently, community outreach and engagement will be a strong component to promote the mobile farmers’ markets and raise education and awareness opportunities with the greater public.
Our project will also focus on coordinating nutrition equity events in tandem with farmers’ markets that will include healthy eating recipes and live cooking demonstrations with an emphasis on cultural and ethnic-based recipes. Pivotal to implementation of this project is our team’s approval for community residents to utilize SNAP benefits to purchase healthy foods in low-income/access-challenged areas. Our project will also implement a community-based survey that aims to gather community input on healthy eating and healthy living.
This survey will be an addendum to market registration at each mobile location and will be used to assess project effectiveness and perceptions of food security and healthy living over the course of the project. Results will from survey will be assessed monthly, quarterly, and annually and used to develop a report that can be used to influence policy through a community-driven, data analytics perspective.