Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Grantee Name

Food Pantries for the Capital District

Funding Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Publication Date

May 2024

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

June 2022—December 2023

The Food Is Medicine (FIM) movement recognizes that nutrition and health are directly linked.

FIM programs are typically targeted to people with chronic illnesses or risk factors, often using a food prescription written by a health care provider or plan.FIM usually consists of prepared meals or food/produce boxes that are medically tailored to an individual patient. These programs can improve health outcomes, reduce food insecurity, and decrease long-term health care costs. In 2022, NYHealth awarded a grant to the Food Pantries for the Capital District to explore different ways to integrate FIM services into New York’s Medicaid program.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Developed a statewide coalition of more than 100 stakeholders, including nonprofits, managed care organizations, hospitals, researchers, clinicians, and State officials. 
  • Conducted policy research, consulting successful blueprints from Massachusetts and California, which now fund FIM programs through Medicaid.  
  • Published a New York State blueprint with policy recommendations, including actions for Medicaid reimbursement. 
  • Educated State health, agriculture, and social services policymakers on the need for policy change. 
  • Successfully advocated for incorporating FIM services in New York’s 1115 waiver:  
    • Eligible individuals can receive up to three prepared meals a day, delivered to their home, for six months.  
    • Medically tailored food prescriptions will also be available through Medicaid for up to six months, and pregnant women and children will have increased access to fresh produce and nonperishable groceries. 
  • Successfully advocated for State Medicaid to reimburse for Community Health Worker and Registered Dietitian Nutrition services, which should increase the frequency of screenings for social determinants of health and nutrition referrals.  
  • Worked with the Office for the Aging to ensure the State’s Master Plan on Aging incorporates FIM services in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare. 

FIM is an emerging field, and there is a need to determine the correct prescription dose, duration, and composition for medically tailored groceries for different populations. As a next step, Food Pantries is establishing an accelerator program between new and seasoned programs to learn from one another, expand services equitably across the State, and continue to advocate for Medicaid reimbursement.  

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: Elevance Foundation awarded The Food Pantries of the Capital District a grant of $500,000 to build a FIM accelerator that will train nonprofits to become Medically Tailored Grocery providers.