Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Creating a More Just and Sustainable Food System in New York City

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

May 16, 2019






Through its Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, NYHealth is supporting six communities across New York State to become healthier, more active places.

Although all the communities are working toward the common goal of improving the health of their residents, each community may face particular challenges. By offering responsive and time-sensitive technical assistance funding to grantees and their partners, NYHealth can help them meet their goals. In 2019, NYHealth awarded Pace University a grant to support the Food Law Initiative in offering pro bono legal assistance to small businesses, nonprofits, and community groups working to expand access to nutritious foods in underserved communities in New York City.

Under this grant, the Food Law Initiative (a partnership between the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and the Natural Resources Defense Council) connected New York City organizations to its Food and Beverage Law Clinic. Established in 2017, this first-of-its-kind clinic provides pro-bono legal services to farmers, food entrepreneurs, food justice organizations, and other key stakeholders. The clinic worked with organizations to create farm and food enterprise ownership opportunities and expanded access to nutritious foods in disadvantaged New York City communities, particularly East Harlem, the Lower East Side, and Brownsville. Clients were offered technical assistance tailored to their needs, including help with forming a business entity, drafting of legal documents, complying with regulatory laws, and securing access to land or capital. By strengthening these organizations’ ability to navigate complicated legal-agricultural issues, this initiative helped create a more just, sustainable food system in New York City.