CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor
e-newsletter of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute  

Feeding or Starving Gentrification: The Role of Food Policy

By Nevin Cohen

Gentrification has transformed low-income communities worldwide. The process is complex but often follows a consistent pattern: capital flows into low-income neighborhoods, more affluent residents move in, real estate values go up, the housing stock is upgraded, low-income residents are forced to leave, and community character changes to accommodate the newcomers. Gentrification can happen abruptly, with people and businesses displaced through eviction, but more commonly occurs gradually, even over generations, as children of longtime residents leave because they cannot afford to remain in the neighborhood in which they grew up. The impact of gentrification varies, too. Those able to remain in place while their neighborhoods gentrify may benefit from new investments, more political influence, and better infrastructure and services, or they may suffer the loss of place as commerce, culture, civic life, aesthetics, and the people living around them become unaffordable, unfamiliar, or unwelcoming.

Food plays a significant role in gentrification. “Foodie” culture often serves as gentrification’s leading edge by signifying that a community is ripe for investment. Gentrification also changes food retailers that comprise the local food environment, sometimes creating “food mirages,” with abundant, high quality food priced just out of reach of longstanding residents. Food policies play an important role in gentrification by catalyzing the process and protecting against or counteracting its negative effects, and policies that address gentrification can affect local food environments. This brief discusses the relationships between food and gentrification and identifies ten opportunities for advocates to shape the process.
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How Cities are Improving Animal Welfare in our Food System
By Leah Galitzdorfer
In the last decade, cities around the US have begun thinking of ways to address the inhumane treatment of animals in the food system, often by joining forces in order to have a greater impact. Here we describe a handful of strategies used by cities, which together can have a powerful impact on the lives and well-being of livestock.
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Hunger and Food Insecurity in the Community College Foodscape:
The Need for a Holistic Approach to Research and Action
By Dr. Rositsa Ilieva and Dr. Tanzina Ahmed
Within community colleges across the United States, students’ food insecurity is a widely-spread [1] yet insufficiently studied phenomenon. There is reason to believe that a majority of students in two year colleges may be food insecure. For instance, a 2017 survey of 33,000 students at 70 community colleges revealed that two out of three students attending community colleges were food insecure [3]. Such severe levels of food insecurity have led to institutional action, as the number of campus food pantries, at both colleges and universities, has risen from a handful in 2009 to more than 500 in 2017 [4]. In New York City alone, several community colleges, including Guttman Community College and Bronx Community College, both part of CUNY, have opened food pantries to alleviate their students’ food insecurity. A key question now is whether and to what extent interventions such as food pantries can alleviate college food insecurity, especially at community colleges.
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Upcoming Institute Events

Urban Food Policy Forum:

Gentrification and the Local Food Environment

March 29, 2018, 9:00am - 10:30am
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
55 West 125th Street, 7th Floor New York, NY, 10027
Many New Yorkers have experienced gentrification, the influx of affluent people into low- and moderate-income neighborhoods that often results in residential displacement and profound changes to a community’s racial and ethnic composition, culture, and commerce. On March 29th, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will explore the causes and effects of gentrification on local food environments and strategies to ensure access to affordable, healthy food.

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Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and at the CUNY Graduate Center, will explore the role of food (e.g., restaurant reviews on social media) as a contributor to gentrification
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Jean-Marie Callan, Deputy Director of Programs and Evaluation at the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), will discuss the experience of food gentrification, based on research on the residents of NYCHA developments in gentrified neighborhoods
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Emily Blank, Senior Community Development Officer for Green and Healthy Neighborhoods at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, will discuss the role of community development corporations in building affordable food retail
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Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen, Equitable Economic Development Campaign Coordinator at the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, will discuss his organization’s efforts to organize small businesses to fight displacement
The forum will be moderated by Institute Research Director Nevin Cohen, who has written about the role of zoning in transforming food retail.


Institute News
The Food Policy Institute Welcomes Shari Rueckl​​​​​​​
Shari Rueckl has recently joined the Institute as Administrative Coordinator.  After moving to Brooklyn from the Midwest many years ago, Shari's interest in food justice and working to ensure all have access to healthy food was sparked. With a degree, professional background, and business experience in Fashion Design and Manufacturing, Shari fueled her passion for all things food by joining and organizing a variety of community groups across the food system, including the Brooklyn Bridge CSA where she is a core group coordinator.   Even though there are farms everywhere near her hometown, it wasn’t until moving to New York that she truly realized the value of good, fresh food and how important it is for everyone to have access to it. 
CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute seeks new staff

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is seeking a program assistant and two new senior staff positions. The Program Assistant will support and contribute to the goals of our youth and community development projects.  The Food Policy Monitor Project Director will coordinate our policy analysis and advocacy projects and oversee development of policy briefs, policy forums and the newsletter. The Director of Evaluation will provide scientific and programmatic direction to the Institute’s evaluation projects. Closing dates are listed on each job description.
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