Earlier this month, Institute Director Nick Freudenberg wrote a guest post for the City University of London's blog, Dispatches from the Centre for Food Policy. The focus of the post was a summary of the Institute's recent report, Food Policy in New York City Since 2008: Lessons for the Next Decade.
For more than a century, New York City has led the nation in using the authority and resources of municipal government to make healthy food, that most basic of human needs, more available, affordable and safer for all city residents. In this report, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute takes stock of what has changed in food policy in New York City since 2008. The goal is to provide evidence that can inform more equitable solutions to urban food problems in New York City and elsewhere.
By Nicholas Freudenberg, Director CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
This commentary seeks to encourage food policy advocates and the food justice movement to consider an appropriate role for litigation in reforming food systems in this era. The following Q and As summarize some of what we need to know to engage in that discussion.
By Nevin Cohen, Nicholas Freudenberg, and Craig Willingham
A stronger, more integrated New York City and State regional foodshed offers many potential benefits: increased access to healthy affordable regionally grown food, creation of new good food jobs in agricultural and urban communities, better protection of farmland, more sustainable regional agriculture that slows climate change and new upstate/downstate partnerships that can constitute a political force for advocating alternatives to a corporate-dominated food system. In this policy brief, we examine lessons for New York City from the regional foodsheds that are developing in Chicago, Toronto and Cincinnati.
In response to the rapidly changing political landscape and building on the success of the Healthy Food Access Portal, PolicyLink, Reinvestment Fund, and the Food Trust have introduced a new Healthy Food Access Policy Network. The Network will serve as a central space to engage advocates through monthly newsletters. Members can:
Food Policy Action has released its annual scorecard of congressional action on the votes and bills that form the food policy landscape of the United States in 2016 shaped by the 114th session of Congress. Compared to the 113th Congress, this year’s legislators improved 6 percentage points overall from an average score of 51% up to 57% across both chambers, and demonstrated a bipartisan commitment in several instances (link). New York State performed better than the country as a whole, and NY democrats scored higher than NY republicans.
On September 30, 2016 the New York City Council Committee on Small Business and Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises held an oversight hearing on Zoning and Incentives for Promoting Retail Diversity and Preserving Neighborhood Character. Nevin Cohen, Research Director at the Urban Food Policy Institute, prepared and delivered testimony focusing on the challenges and opportunities within the food sector His testimony is presented below.
Nevin Cohen, Associate Professor
In response to growing attention to inequality, several progressive cities in the United States have adopted policies that seek to modify the differences in employment, education and housing conditions that are upstream drivers of the socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health that characterize our city and nation.[1-5] Can these upstream interventions also contribute to reducing food injustice? And how does their impact compare with that of more overtly food-focused programs such as cooking classes or supermarket incentives?
Most observers of the 2016 election would agree that to date food and food policy has not been a front burner issue. But are there other top tier election issues that could provide an opening for food advocates—climate change and energy policy, trade policy, income inequality and minimum wage, the role of government in safety net programs? Can food activists use the distrust of corporations by many of Bernie Sanders supporters and some of Donald Trump’s followers to focus on the role of Big Food in health and hunger? Can the threats to democracy that “dark money”, campaign contributions and PACs pose enlist food and other activists to join the fight for campaign finance reform? On June 7, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute sponsored a forum on Food and the 2016 Election to consider these and other questions.