Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


School of Public Health

Content Description

1 online resource (xiv, 136 pages) : color illustrations, color maps.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Barry Sherman

Committee Members

Lynn Edmunds, Sanjay Goel, Akiko Hosler, Barry Loneck


food bank, HPNAP, hunger, New York State, produce, sustainability, Food relief, Local foods, Poor, Nutrition policy, Produce trade, Farmers' markets

Subject Categories

Nutrition | Public Health


The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) is administered by the Bureau of Nutrition Risk Reduction in the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). This program provides state funds to food banks, the United Way of New York City and other organizations within the emergency food network. Those organizations use HPNAP dollars to fund food and other resources for food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters. In 2012, HPNAP received a one-time $2 million funding allocation for a Locally Grown Produce Initiative. This one-time stimulus to increase the proportion of state-grown fresh produce in emergency food relief services was specifically divided among eight regional food banks to make purchases between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. This retrospective, non-equivalent control group study evaluated the short-term sustainability of the Locally Grown Produce Initiative. Dollar expenditures on New York State grown (NYSG) produce obtained from the NYSDOH’s Milk, Produce and Grain expenditure report were used as measures for this study. Non-parametric analyses were conducted on dollar expenditures on NYSG produce one year before and one year after the initiative. The control group consisted of non-food bank contractors that did not receive funding during the initiative. The findings demonstrate that the initiative was successful at increasing overall spending by contractors on NYSG produce one year after implementation. As expected, contractor type (food bank or non-food bank) significantly impacted spending on NYSG produce and the initiative was found to have had the most significant impact on food banks located upstate. Increasing access to locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables for patrons of emergency food programs is a feasible way to potentially improve health and reduce risk of chronic disease in vulnerable populations. Further study is warranted to examine whether increased accessibility to NYSG produce leads to increased consumption. Hopefully the results of this study will encourage other states to adopt similar initiatives.