CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor
e-newsletter of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute  
New City Council Plan for Growing Food Equity in New York City

By Nicholas Freudenberg and Institute Faculty & Staff
On August 1st, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson presented his plan to address food inequities in New York City, defined as unequal access to healthy food and socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and other disparities in the impact of the food system on well-being. The report outlines the food-related problems the city faces including high levels of food insecurity, lack of access to healthy and affordable food for New Yorkers in low-income communities and communities of color, and food waste.

The Speaker’s plan proposes several major new bills and policies for consideration by the City Council to codify and strengthen the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy; to require the city to create a multi-year citywide food plan as well as a stand-alone urban agriculture plan; and to expand the annual New York City Food Metrics report to include reporting requirements for city food initiatives that are not currently documented.
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New Federal Bill Proposes to Facilitate College Student Enrollment in SNAP

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Representative Al Lawson (D-Fla.), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, last month introduced the College Student Hunger Act of 2019, legislation to address food insecurity on college campuses by enabling more low-income college students to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and pushing the federal government, states, and colleges and universities to take a more active role in addressing student food insecurity.
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Action Alert: Protect SNAP

The latest Trump Administration effort to shrink the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] would eliminate benefits to about 3 million current users, undo automatic eligibility for free school meals for about 500,000 students, and increase the administrative burden on the states and the complexity of the application process for future applicants. On July 24th, USDA posted a proposed rule change that would revise the Categorical Eligibility or “Cat-El” provisions that allow the states to extend eligibility to any household receiving benefits under Transitional Assistance to Needy Families [TANF] or Supplemental, Security Income [SSI]. According to USDA, 40 States, the District of Columbia, The US Virgin Island and Guam had made use of the provision by 2018. The public comment period is open until September 23rd. 
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Food Policy Monitor: Summer 2019 Retrospective

Over the last year, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute has published policy briefs, reports, interviews, and released new resources covering a wide variety of important topics. Our newsletter, the Food Policy Monitor, is designed to provide readers with substantive and useful information about some of the most pressing food policy issues of the day. For readers looking to catch up on some of pieces you may have missed the first time around, we compiled an omnibus of a few of our most viewed publications and new resources and columns from the last year.
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A Guide to Growing Good Food Jobs in New York City
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Restoration’s Farm to
Early Care Program
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Youth Food Countermarketing Hub Launch
Visit Hub
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New York City's Strategic Plan OneNYC 2050 and Food Systems
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Front Line Perspectives on Growing Good Food Jobs in NYC
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Food Policy from Elsewhere:
Q & A on Food Eco-Labels
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On Our Radar:

  • 500,000 Children Could Lose Free School Lunch Under Trump Administration’s SNAP
  • Pingree and Newhouse Introduce Bipartisan House Bill to Standardize Food Date Labels, Cut Food Waste Read press release here
  • New York City is set to ban foie gras
  • A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring public information messaging on healthy eating - More details
  • In case you missed it: Atlanta City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 19-O-1251 to support the first Food Forest in Georgia, largest in U.S. Read the Ordinance, Learn more about the Atlanta Food Forest
Upcoming Events
Back to School: The Policy and Practice of School Lunch

Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Museum of Food and Drink | 62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn 11222

Whether they are universally free, served throughout the summer, or meatless, school meals are a perennial hot button issue in New York City and beyond. With Child Nutrition Reauthorization, the law which determines national policy for school food programs, up before Congress, and the second anniversary of The Free Lunch for All Program in NYC, this discussion is as timely as ever. Join Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Dan Giusti, Founder of Brigaid, Professor Janet Poppendieck, Senior Faculty Fellow at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and author of Free For All, and Ariel Lauren Wilson, former Editor in Chief of Edible Manhattan and Brooklyn, for an honest discussion the issues surrounding school meals in NYC and beyond. An informal reception with samples of Brigaid’s school lunch menu to follow the conversation.
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Community Food Evaluation Workshop

Save the date: Our next Community Food Evaluation Workshop Session will be on Wednesday September 4, 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EST at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute (55 West 125th Street – Room 717). This session will cover How to Use Evaluation to Support Your Organization’s Fundraising. More details to follow – stay tuned!

September Urban Food Policy Forum

Save the date: On Wednesday September 25, 2019 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am EST join the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and guests for a discussion on why including food on the menu of city, state, and federal level Green New Deal policies matters.
Institute News
Growing Food Justice Leaders

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute will be launching the CUNY Food Justice Leadership Fellowship in January 2020 (Link to program flyer). The Fellowship is an 18-month paid program that offers continued training, and opportunities for participation in food-related civic engagement to emerging food leaders attending a CUNY school. This program is open to individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 that have at least one year, or more than 200 hours of documented involvement in food justice activities. If you are passionate about food justice in New York City, and want to make a difference while connecting with like-minded people, apply to the Fellowship! Applications will open on September 16, 2019. For more information, or to receive an application form, please contact Charita Johnson James at
Comments on the Corporation, the Individual, and Public Health

The mainstream focus in the public health community is on individual behavior. Get individuals to stop smoking, stop eating junk foods, stop abusing alcohol – and public health will improve. But a growing minority is challenging the status quo. They say corporations are at the center of our public health crisis. And to improve public health, we need to focus on the corporation. Read this interview with Nick Freudenberg at

Opinion: Put Food on the Green New Deal Menu

Last month, New York City and State approved bold Green New Deal plans that will contribute to reducing greenhouse gases, making buildings and transportation more energy efficient, and creating economic and job opportunities. But by leaving food out of the plans, the city and state missed a chance to amplify and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, healthier and equitable region. Read Op Ed by By Maggie Dickinson, Nicholas Freudenberg, and Rositsa T Ilieva at

New Publication: Strategies and Recommendations to Increase Diversity in Dietetics

CUNY SPH doctoral student and coordinator of the CUNY Food Security Advocates Project, Kathleen Delgado co-authored a research paper calling attention to the importance of developing "bottom-up, innovative solutions that address the concerns and needs of minority students, understanding the perceptions of underrepresented students to entering the dietetics field." Read the Full Article by Gardner-Burt et al. (2019) at
Partner Opportunities
Research and Policy Analyst | FoodPrint

GRACE Communications Foundation, who developed the FoodPrint website, are looking for a research and policy analyst to focus on research and writing related to food production and consumption, food policy, the problems created by industrial agriculture, the benefits of sustainable alternatives, and strategies for promoting the transition to a sustainable food future. This position is based in New York City. Learn more
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