City Harvest nutrition activities on Staten Island in 2016-2017: 

Bianca Palumbo, who works for City Harvest, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the SI Performing Provider System (SIPPS), has been running nutrition classes and consulting as a nutritionist in pediatric offices and other locations on the North Shore. In addition, she has been managing and sometimes running cooking demos, train-the-trainer classes for the Share Our Strength 6-week cooking classes, and Mobile Market referral cards.

Note: City Harvest’s Mobile Markets are free, farmers-market-style distributions in Mariners Harbor and Stapleton. In season, on-site cooking demonstrations offer recommendations on how to cook with produce. Contact Susan Fowler for more information or to get flyers to distribute to your clients:

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City Harvest has been working with Beacon Christian Community Health Center and Comprehensive Pediatrics to “prescribe” fresh produce to their clients who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other results of poor nutrition. Dieticians and doctors at these locations hand out referrals to the Mobile Markets and track the results over time. Kevin Handsman, nutritionist at Beacon Christian Community Health Center, described the Beacon program.

Other nutrition-related programs:

Jody Stoll, SI Partnership for Community Wellness, talked about the School Garden Summit coming up on Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day). At least 50 percent of all schools on Staten Island have shown interest in setting up gardens on their premises, she said. Once the gardens exist, the schools will want to show the students how to cook with the herbs, fruit, and vegetables they’ve grown.

Nan Smith, manager of the St. George GrowNYC Greenmarket, talked about the greenmarket and the cooking demos held there. The market is now open all year long, and people can use HealthBucks, which are $2 coupons from the NYC DOHMH, to buy more produce. SNAP customers get HealthBucks automatically when they use their SNAP benefits.

The Stapleton market is one of four markets in the City running a randomized control trial in which SNAP recipients can double their HealthBucks by being part of an online survey-driven study. This is a nationwide federally funded program managed through the University of Delaware and Wholesome Wave (

Organizations can apply for free HealthBucks to pass out to their clients. See for the application.

Jacqueline Torres, Northwell Health, handed out culturally sensitive My Plate placemats from The Institute for Family Health that Northwell/SIUH has reprinted. See to see all the plates. Contact Jacqueline to get copies for your clients.

Dr. Ginny Mantello, director of Health & Wellness in the Borough President’s Office, described the SI Childhood Wellness initiative and talked more about the SI PPS. The childhood wellness initiative will work to reduce BMIs and obesity among children from pre-school to age 18 in all neighborhoods of Staten Island.

Workgroups are forming now in areas where interventions are likely to be helpful, and Healthy Food and Active Design is one of the areas. Nutritionists working in health centers can join the workgroups (check whether your organization is already involved and if yes, see what you can offer the in-house project).

The SI PPS comes out of the Affordable Care Act–NY State offered $7 billion to Medicaid providers for health-care reform, and SI PPS rose to the challenge on Staten Island.

Among other initiatives, SI PPS has worked to reduce the number of patients coming repeatedly to emergency rooms and has set up care coordination with the help of SI Cares, Make the Road, and other organizations. Care coordinators work with patients as soon as they released from the hospital to make sure that they have appointments with all the providers that they need and that they have transportation to appointments. The coordinators also visit the patients’ homes to check for such things as asthma triggers (dust, cockroaches, etc.) and cooking facilities.

For more information about the impetus behind the SI PPS program, see the article by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker, “Annals of Healthcare: Overkill” (

Staten Island Neighborhood Food Initiative (SINFI). The program started three years ago with a Port Richmond My Plate Challenge: Mexican and Peruvian delis and restaurants competed to have the tastiest plate that met the USDA My Plate recommendations. This was followed by a West African My Plate Challenge, where five West African cooks made My-Plate-style African dishes. In 2016, SINFI did videos at Lanka Grocery and San Rasa Restaurant, both run by Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

This year, SINFI plans to engage as many North Shore delis and restaurants in the My Plate and City Harvest’s Healthy Retail programs as possible. Nutritionists have been key to the program for the past three years and will be needed to advise this year’s stores on their plates as well.

New Grant Opportunity

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is pleased to announce the availability of grants for one to four community-based organizations (CBOs) that wish to implement one of the following programs (1) Stellar Farmers’ Markets (SFM), (2) Farmers’ Markets for Kids (FMK), or (3) nutrition-based culinary demonstrations during the 2017 season (July through October/November) at a farmers’ market serving low-income New Yorkers.

Completed applications are due by Monday, February 27, 2017. Recipients will be notified by March 31, 2017.

Contact DOHMH to get a copy of this application or for any questions about the implementation of the program. You can reach Elizabeth Solomon, Senior Program Manager, by email at esolomo1 -at- or by phone at (347) 396-4246.

SINFI’s Goal: Every North Shore neighborhood will have a store, restaurant, deli, or bodega that provides fresh local fruit and vegetables so that anyone can follow the My Plate recommendations. The people living in the neighborhood will know where these stores are and support them.
For more information
Contact: Info or Susan Fowler,, 646 412-0721.