The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is one of the most comprehensive efforts to harness the power of institutional food procurement to achieve social, environmental, and economic goals through the promotion of better food purchasing practices. Specifically, the program provides a metric-based, flexible framework that prioritizes five core values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. With more than 100 national, state, and local food system experts providing recommendations and feedback on the policy, the GFPP is the first procurement model to support these five values in equal measure.
In April 2019, the City of New York released OneNYC 2050 – a nine-volume strategic plan to “confront our climate crisis, achieve equity, and strengthen our democracy” in New York City. The plan is a continuation of the first OneNYC plan published in 2015, and, in part, of PlaNYC, the long-term sustainability plan for the city released under the previous city administration in 2007.
In April 2019 New York City passed its “Climate Mobilization Act” and released OneNYC 2050, a long-term strategic plan for the city’s resilient and equitable development. The plan acknowledges that “[w]e need to eliminate our contributions to climate-change-causing GHG emissions and build neighborhoods and infrastructure that support sustainable lifestyles and consumption, while creating economic opportunity for all.” So, a key question for those of us invested in food policy, is how can food regulations help cities and nations effectively lower their carbon footprint? Earlier in October 2018, Denmark also released its 2050 Climate Plan “Together for a Greener Future,” including a specific strategy introducing carbon labelling for food products.
At the end of March, the New York City Council passed and sent to the Mayor legislation that requires restaurants and other food service establishments to serve water, low-fat milk or 100% juice as the default drinks with children’s meals, rather than soda or other sugary drinks. Parents can still request these less healthy options but healthier choices will become the default option. The law will go into effect on May 1, 2020 and will impose monetary penalties on restaurants that violate it. This new law, know as Local Law 75 of 2019, adds a new tool to the public health goal of reducing sugar consumption but also sets the stage for additional reforms.
Amy Kwan is a recent graduate of the Doctor of Public Health program at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. She is also an experienced staff person for several youth and community organizations and has participated in many participatory community health research studies. Amy’s doctoral dissertation From Food to Food Justice: Pathways and Narratives of Young Food Activists In New York City was completed in 2017. In this interview, Nicholas Freudenberg, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Public Health, Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, and Amy’s dissertation faculty sponsor, asks her about the findings from her dissertation project.
Globalization and neoliberal policies are shaping current food and agricultural systems. Food in cities and certain ideas regarding local food systems have emerged as counter-movements. As formulated in The Declaration of Nyéléni,* food sovereignty refers to “the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute, and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” This declaration is a transformative paradigm, which entails the inclusion of diverse social actors in the processes of consultation, planning and decision-making. A recent example from the city of Madrid shows how to bring citizens to the heart of urban governance processes.
Each year more than 6,000 New York City residents are hospitalized for food-borne illnesses, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). In 2017, 3,287 suspected food poisoning cases were reported to 311 and the NYC DOHMH. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of these annual complaints to 311 increased by almost 20 percent.
In February 2019 the City of New York released its FY20 Preliminary Budget Departmental Estimates and other financial reports such as the Citywide Savings Program, and the Register of Community Board Budget Requests (with City Agency responses in February). While City Council and Borough Presidents also have funds, that they can allocate for projects commonly addressed at district or borough needs, the City's expense budget – which includes annual expenses such as salaries and supplies, and capital budget – which guides investment in infrastructure and equipment lasting multiple years – are essential tools through which the city shapes food systems and policy. So, what do these preliminary FY20 City budget documents tell us about the City’s urban food system and the city agencies that govern it? We took a closer look at some of the numbers and here is what we found.
Several organizations and coalitions, which include frontline direct-service emergency food providers; anti-poverty, senior advocacy, and immigrants’ rights groups; public health and academic institutions; and healthy food retail advocates, have together developed a New York City and State Healthy Food for All Budget Request Platform as a unified approach to advocate for New York City and State budgets that contribute to reducing hunger and promoting access to healthy, affordable food for all New Yorkers.
On March 14, Nevin Cohen presented a guest lecture at the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems called Food Metrics 3.0: Unearthing Hidden Data. The lecture was hosted by FLEdGE: Food Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged, a research and knowledge sharing partnership among seven Canadian regional nodes of practitioners and researchers and three international working groups.