Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Debbie Humphries


In 2017, approximately 1.2 million residents, or 14.4% of the population, in New York City were identified as food insecure, which is higher than the national rate of 11.8%. Wholesome Wave is a non-profit organization based in the Northeastern region of the United States that develops programming for consumers to make healthier food choices through increases in affordable access to healthy, locally and regionally grown foods. Wholesome Wave makes fruits and vegetables affordable through their Wholesome Communities initiative which includes the SNAP Double Value Program and the FVRx. This report builds a strategic go-to-market approach by identifying key funders, partners, and populations to allow Wholesome Wave to efficiently and effectively bring Wholesome Communities to the targeted market of New York City.

The existing network of food coordination and organizations in New York City is complex, therefore it is recommended that there are a few important action points to consider when first entering this market and further expanding upon their programming.

1. The major funders identified in this report all have a focus on food insecurity and improving the health of New York City residents through the means of food coordination. They are: United Way of New York City, Helmsley Charitable Trust, New York State Health Foundation, and JPB Foundation. Prior to submitting formal applications, there should be contact made to key people within each funding source in New York City through Wholesome Wave communication methods (i.e. newsletters). The outreach should ensure that prior success in other markets is highlighted through news coverage, success stories, and case studies.

2. The food partnership landscape in New York City is diverse, and as such, there is the opportunity to expand Wholesome Wave initiatives. Through cooperation with NYC Food Policy and the Office of Food & Nutrition Services, Wholesome Wave can develop partnerships with the other initiatives they support (i.e. Green Carts and Shop Health NYC), so that populations and neighborhoods that are not reached yet can be established. Through City Harvest, Wholesome Wave can bring SNAP doubling to their utilizers, given that the population served is already struggling with food insecurity. Given that the FVRx program was successful within the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Wholesome Wave can leverage this partnership to distribute coupons at the hospital-sponsored farmers’ markets.

3. Three major populations to first focus on within New York City include veterans, senior citizens, and immigrants. It is suggested that additional partnerships with organizations that support these populations in other social-determinant areas should be made. This includes the Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone, the VA NY Harbor Health System, Hope for the Warriors, HRA’s office of SNAP outreach services, Make the Road New York, and the New York Immigration Coalition.

4. Best practices for marketing strategies for New York City include social media campaigns that introduce education related to Wholesome Waves benefits. Strategies can include testimonials, comparison of food prices with and without SNAP doubling, and suggestions of recipes and storage for fresh produce.

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