Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
The Food Pharmacy Network
Explain your idea in details:
According to the World Health Organization, to achieve best results in preventing nutrition-related chronic diseases, programs and policies must address the need for change at the individual level as well as the modifications in society and the environment to make healthier choices accessible and preferable. The Food Pharmacy Network focuses on the provision, service, and advocacy to address food insecurity by promoting healthy eating and therefore healthy lives. This network consists of food pharmacies hosted by free clinics across the world. These food pharmacies all provide free fresh produce and household staples for patients, often those with chronic illnesses from poor diet, like Type 2 Diabetes. As food insecure households also have issues meeting other basic needs, we provide convenience by offering both free healthcare and food under one roof. Food-insecure patients are often afraid of the stigmatization of food pantries, but hosting food pharmacies at free clinics will take this fear away and emphasize the link between nutrition and health. This way, we'll be providing a compelling solution to a potential social determinant of health. Our food pharmacies have registered dietitians on staff for consultation, free recipe books comprised of ingredients available at the food pharmacies, and cooking equipment for loan. We also have an advocacy team lobbying local legislators to increase public funding for programs that address basic needs. Clinics also have the option of implementing the Veggie Prescriptions program, where physicians can write prescriptions for patients for foods they would like these patients to consume. Patients can then pick these goods up at the food pharmacy directly in the clinic, emphasizing the link between nutrition and health. We hope that with this access, the most food-insecure patients will develop healthful habits that can prevent and even heal chronic conditions. Please visit our website at www.thefoodpharmacynetwork.com!
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
So far, we have one food pharmacy under full operation at the Ithaca Free Clinic and seven more in development at places like the Yale-New Haven Hospital Free Clinic and the Upstate New York Medical School Clinic scheduled for opening in the coming months. Currently, we support around 1,000 patients. Our goal is to expand to at 15 clinics in full operation by the end of 2018, impacting an estimated 25,000 patients, with clinics in the planning even in Germany and Austria. We have volunteer workers at each of these venues collecting data on patient satisfaction with the program along with health data over the course of months. We're hoping to quantify both lifestyle and health improvement thanks to this program with a feedback survey of at least 500 of these patients. With this information, we will apply to the Central Food Bank of NY Grant of $5,000. Meanwhile, we hope to raise at least $2,000 through grants from Cornell and fundraising in the New England Area.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
As we primarily operate as a B2B, our partnerships are incredibly important. We strive to connect our network of donors to our network of clinics, creating essential alliances that benefit patients. Currently, we have partnered with Feeding America, a network of food banks is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Our primary food bank partners are The Food Bank of Central New York, The Food Bank of the Southern Tier, and the Connecticut Food Bank. These food banks are our suppliers for food by the pound, food that we ship to each of our clinics to provide to patients. We also are partnered with Wegman's, Stop and Shop, Tops Friendly Markets, and Aldi, all grocery stores that offer their shrink for donation to our clinic food pharmacies. We receive gifts from the supermarkets, and we pay a steeply reduced price for food by the pound from food banks. These food banks and supermarkets are essential partners, as we cannot supply food to patients without their donations and their affordably priced stores. Alternatively, we are looking to see if we can set up a donation network where people can drop their unwanted food for the week in a climate-controlled storage container. This way, we won't have to keep paying for food, and we'll increase sustainability, as households currently waste 30-40% of all food bought. By dropping their unwanted food in these centers, we can then provide them to food pharmacy visitors. We also hope to get food from local farms and small grocery stores at full price to support the local area and further drive sustainability. Our funding comes from grants given by these food banks as well as Cornell University as well as individual donations and fundraising events, like our gala dinners.
I'm Emily, and I am a 20-year-old rising junior at Cornell passionate about public health, especially nutrition. I consider myself a very driven person who loves to work on innovative projects. In the past, I have pursued cancer research at Yale University and The University of New Haven. This summer, I was involved in public health research at the Ithaca Free Clinic, where I created a study to capture statistics on pain and symptom reduction at the Chronic Care Program as well as the clinic food pharmacy. I gathered biometric data on patient health, vitals, and pain management for over three months through patient surveys and interviews and developed a presentation for the case management meeting. At Cornell, I've furthered my commitment to nutrition and health research and education through my research in cancer metabolism in the Cerione Lab, my managing of Anabel's Grocery, a student-run affordable store addressing food insecurity on Cornell's campus, and my work in teaching nutrition courses at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and the Cornell Prison Education Program. I am also very interested in social entrepreneurship. This spring, I started The Food Pharmacy Network, a non-profit dedicated to providing free fresh fruits and household staples to patients at free clinics. Doctors can assign "veggie prescriptions" to patients who can pick up their assigned foods right at the clinic. I'm excited to be presenting this work at the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference in October. Link to my CV: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1v61ZK31d9-BRv_F7M9rbiiCau0cgSjVI/view?usp=sharing