Nassau produce prescription program awarded $483K grant

NY Fresh Rx, a produce prescription program, was recently awarded a Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NY Fresh Rx is a collaborative project between Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, Harmony Healthcare Long Island and Hofstra University. The three-year grant, which runs through Sept. 2026, totals $483,589 and will help fund the project aimed at increasing procurement and consumption of fruits and vegetables, reducing individual and household food insecurity and reducing healthcare usage and associated costs.

In Nassau County, NY Fresh Rx will serve 350 food insecure individuals who have a chronic disease diagnosis (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, or obesity) and who receive health services at one of Harmony Healthcare’s health centers in Hempstead or Roosevelt. 

“We are thrilled to be working with such stellar partners who each bring important expertise to the table which will help ensure the success of the program,” Gregory Sandor, executive director of CCE Nassau, said in a written statement. “NIFA has made a tremendous investment in Nassau County.  We are honored to be leading this effort to help strengthen our local food system, reduce food insecurity, and improve health equity.”

The NY Fresh Rx program will also support Long Island’s local food system and economy by procuring from local Long Island farms.

“Being able to implement a food is medicine program like NY Fresh Rx is a registered dietitian’s dream,” Beth Labelson, registered dietitian and nutrition educator for CCE Nassau, said in the statement. “Produce prescription programs reaffirm that food and nutrition play an important role in sustaining health, preventing disease, and providing therapy for those with conditions responsive to changes in diet.”

The USDA recently announced a national investment of more than $52 million to improve dietary health and access to fresh fruits and vegetables for eligible families. The funds support efforts across three NIFA competitive grant programs and produce prescription awards account for $5.2 million to 11 awardees, including the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County.

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