CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor
e-newsletter of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute  
The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute "Top 10" Food Policy Events of 2018

The past year reminds us once again that every step forward can be accompanied by steps backward which forced us to often take food policy “victories” with a grain of salt. To help Food Policy Monitor readers take stock of the past year, we identify our staff choices for the Top 10 positive and negative food events in 2018, defined as events that had an important impact on urban food environments in New York City or elsewhere.
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“B-Side” Food Metrics
By Nevin Cohen, Nicholas Freudenberg, Rositsa Ilieva, and Craig Willingham
n the days of vinyl, songs on the b-side got little air play and never made the charts, even though they often were as good as – or better than -- the hits. As we reviewed New York City’s 2018 Food Metrics Report, released in December by the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, we identified a number of “b-side food metrics” that would enrich our understanding of the food system yet are rarely given proper air time, and as a result are often overlooked by advocates. These are data already collected and made public by city agencies, yet because they are not aggregated and organized as food metrics, and are sometimes in difficult to navigate websites, they remain hidden in plain sight. In the examples that follow for each of the Food Metrics Report’s four topical areas, we illustrate the value of these data sources in answering important policy questions.
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Upcoming Events
URBAN FOOD POLICY FORUM | Cutting Edge Food Research at CUNY

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
9:00am – 10:30am
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health
55 West 125th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10027

The CUNY Food Collaboratory brings together faculty and students from around the CUNY university system who are engaged in policy-relevant food research across disciplines. On January 29, five Collaboratory faculty members will share their recent work on food sovereignty; food and nutrition in immigrant communities; school gardens; youth obesity; and the role community college education plays in promoting food security and healthy eating. Researchers will present their findings and take audience questions as part of an in depth exploration into food-related scholarship at CUNY. This will be followed by an opportunity to meet informally and discuss their work in more detail.


  • Karen Flórez, DrPH MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental, Occupational and Geospatial Sciences, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health, will preview her work on The Double Burden of Food Insecurity and Obesity Among Latino Youth: Understanding the Role of Generational Status; and

RSVP to Forum
Food Policy from Elsewhere
Washington, D.C. Adopts the Good Food Purchasing Program
This column continues a new Food Policy Monitor feature Food Policy from Elsewhere. It explores food policy innovations in other cities and nations for their relevance to New York City.

On December 4th 2018, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to confirm the city’s commitment towards implementing the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) for the city’s public schools. The measure passed as part of a larger bill, B22-313 The Healthy Students Amendment Act, which intends to further student health and wellness. Getting the city’s commitment to the GFPP is the result of a yearlong campaign by a diverse coalition of community groups, labor unions, parents, local business leaders, D.C. Food and Nutrition Services and others advocating for access to healthy, high-quality meals for the city’s 48,000 students.
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Institute News
Hungry in College Press Briefing
On January 10, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Healthy CUNY hosted a press event “Hungry in College: Food Insecurity Among CUNY Students in New York City” on the new report on food insecurity on college campuses in the US issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in December 2018. Institute Director and Distinguished Professor Nick Freudenberg and Institute Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor Emerita Jan Poppendieck, together with CUNY student and Food Security Advocate Ronnette Cox, commented on the report and presented findings from their most recent research on food insecurity across CUNY campuses. Over the past several years, the Institute and the Healthy CUNY initiative have been leading campus food security-focused research through systematic assessments (see 2018 Report) and action through the CUNY Food Security Advocates project and the “Ending Food Insecurity at CUNY” guide for faculty and staff.
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Deadline Extended!  CFEW Food Evaluation Fellowship Applications Due FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2019
With support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute launches the CUNY Food Evaluation Fellowship program to provide intensive evaluation support to front line and mid-level staff of organizations conducting community food work in New York City. The CUNY Food Evaluation Fellowship will support up to three fellows with stipends ranging from $3,000 - $5,000 during the Spring 2019 semester. Selected Fellows will spend a total of 20 days (140 hours) over the course of six months (February– July 2019), enhancing their evaluation skills with the support of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute staff. Fellows may use the time to develop evaluation tools and processes, prepare reports or funding applications based on their organization’s evaluation findings, or develop a comprehensive evaluation strategy for their organization. Stipends will vary depending on the agreed terms of the fellowship, and may be used to compensate organizations for their employee’s time or to pay for credit-bearing courses.
More Info & Application
Please Join Us!  Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation for Community Food Work
Please join us for the first session of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute’s Community Food Evaluation Workshop. Participants will learn the basics of monitoring and evaluating community food work, including an overview of M+E methods and best practice, how to collect useful data, and tools for conducting M+E at your organization.

We recommend this session for anyone working in community food programming who is new to monitoring and evaluation or needs a refresher on the basics. Following this meeting, participants will be prepared and able to engage in upcoming Community Food Evaluation Workshop sessions!

We look forward to seeing you there! For questions, please reach out the Katherine Tomaino Fraser at
Register for Workshop

New Publications
New Research Shows that Hispanic and Black Youth are Disproportionately Targeted by Unhealthy Food Ads
In a new report released last week, researchers from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that "food-related companies almost exclusively target advertising for nutritionally poor products to Hispanic and Black consumers, and Hispanic and Black children and teens view large numbers of these ads." The research draws on data from 32 restaurants, food, and beverage companies which spent $100 million on advertising in 2017, or 69% of all food-related advertising spending for that year.

The findings of this report confirm and extend other recent work in this area which revealed that “Hispanic youth are disproportionately exposed to outdoor food and beverage advertising around their schools” (Herrera et al. 2018) and that Hispanic and black parents express the highest support for policies to reduce food and beverage marketing to children and adolescents (Fleming-Milici et al. 2018).

Over the past three years, the Institute and its Director of Youth and Community Development, Charita Johnson, have worked to research (see Policy Brief) and address this challenge through the development of countermarketing initiatives and resources (see Countermarketing Teaching Resources) for youth and youth-serving organizations in New York City. The Institute understands the importance of exposing the targeted marketing of unhealthy food to Hispanic and Black children and teens and is committed to advancing and amplifying efforts to address this issue now and in the future.
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Design thinking to improve implementation of public health interventions: an exploratory case study on enhancing park use
Dr. Nevin Cohen, Research Director at the Institute, co-authored a recently published article.

Design thinking, a human-centred, iterative process to innovate solutions aligned with communities’ tacit knowledge, has the potential to augment public health interventions. This paper presents a case study of a design thinking workshop to illustrate the process and methods to train public health researchers. A workshop was conducted to engage participants in a systematic, non-linear process of design thinking to design possible interventions to enhance use of renovated New York City parks.

Participants engaged in exercises to rapidly craft proposals for park re-design. The process involved learning about design methods to overcome limitations of linear thinking and how design thinking can be applied to public health problems that require community input.

The case study demonstrated the feasibility of training public health researchers in design thinking methods that can be applied to public health problems. With increased capacity, public health researchers could apply design thinking to community collaborations to develop solutions embedded in the unique contexts of the community. Read more.

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