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

Don’t Give Me Your Tired and Your Poor
By Jan Poppendieck

Imagine being asked to choose between feeding your family now or obtaining a green card later!

A new “public charge” rule proposed by the Trump administration has the potential to induce legal immigrants to forgo public benefits that they need to feed their families, secure housing and maintain their health. The result would be a rise in hunger and malnutrition, an increase in homelessness, and a decline in health, as well as a reduction in federal funds injected into the economies of New York City and jurisdictions throughout the nation.  As a recent report by the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute shows, participation in food benefits to which immigrants are entitled has already been reduced in some immigrant communities due to fears of deportation that have been heightened by the Trump Administration’s policies.


On October 10th, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security posted a proposed revision of the public charge rule in the Federal Register. This new version of the rule would make it much harder for immigrants to obtain or extend visas or to become lawful permanent residents (commonly known as obtaining a green card). The proposed rule expands the list of programs considered by immigration officials when they determine whether an applicant is likely to become a “public charge.” Such a determination can result in denial of applications to change visa or residency status.
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A Guide to Growing Good Food Jobs in New York City 
By Craig Willingham, Cassandra Flechsig, Nicholas Freudenberg
Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Settlement Houses (SHs) strive to create strong, healthy communities that make it easier for their residents to find healthy affordable food and good jobs. Good food jobs pay a decent wage; offer benefits, safe working conditions and pathways for career advancement; and make healthy affordable food more available in low-income communities. To advance work on achieving these goals, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Local Initiatives Support Corporation New York City (LISC NYC), United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) partnered to identify promising models for integrating workforce development and healthy food access. The goal of such integration is to expand the capacity of these organizations to grow and nurture new approaches to creating more good food jobs, approaches that have the potential for being developed, expanded and sustained in low-income neighborhoods across New York City. While our focus in this report is on New York City, we believe that the models and strategies described here are also relevant to other cities in the United States.
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CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Healthy CUNY Produce New Faculty Guide on Ending Food Insecurity at CUNY
According to surveys of CUNY students, about 60,000 CUNY undergraduates –about one in four-- experience food insecurity, defined as not having enough resources to regularly get the food needed to maintain health. Hunger and food insecurity are among the most debilitating consequences of poverty. Not having enough to eat or having to worry about whether you can afford your next meal makes it harder for students to stay in school and to achieve their full academic potential. While poverty is the underlying cause of food insecurity, college
students face other life circumstances that put them at risk of being hungry and require the attention of higher education policy makers.

For CUNY, which aspires to be the world’s greatest urban university, setting the goal of ending food insecurity among its students within five years provides our university with a specific and achievable opportunity to translate its vision into practice. In this guide, several faculty who have been tackling food insecurity at CUNY in the last several years have teamed up with the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Healthy CUNY, a university initiative to promote health for academic success at CUNY, to propose some ways that CUNY faculty and staff can contribute to the goal of ensuring that within five years all CUNY students will be food secure.

In previous reports, Healthy CUNY has described roles that CUNY students, nonprofit groups, university administrators, and city, state and federal policy makers can take to end food insecurity and other health problems among CUNY students. In this report, we focus on roles for faculty and staff. Ending food insecurity at CUNY will require a full mobilization of CUNY faculty, staff, students, and administrators. This Guide is our effort to contribute to that aim.
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VOTE on Tuesday, November 6! Get Out and Make Your Voice Heard!
Find out where Congress stands on key issues so you can make informed choices at the poll. For food policy issues, check out - An Eater’s Guide to Congress. Here you can see voting histories and individual track records and learn whether your Representative stands up for good food policy, or whether they voted for policies that are harmful to hungry people, contaminate our food supply, poison our soil and water, or hurt local economies. has a variety of nonpartisan information, including voting records of current representatives and candidates’ positions on the issues.
Upcoming Events
URBAN FOOD POLICY FORUM | Strategies for Confronting Epidemics of Fear and Hunger: The Future of Food Security in New York City

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
9:00am – 10:30am
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
55 West 125th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10027

We are now in the public comment period for the Trump Administration proposal to revise the nation’s public charge rule. On December 10, 2018, this period will end. What is “public charge”? What is its current and potential impact for the well-being and food insecurity of immigrant communities in New York City and the US? More broadly, what are other threats to the future of food security in New York City? How can New York best protect the advances in reducing food insecurity of the last two decades? On October 30, join the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute to discuss the public charge rule proposal as well as other threats to food security. The Forum will also provide updates from a new working group focused on immigrant access to food benefits and the latest information on the Nutrition Title of the (now expired) Farm Bill, specifically SNAP and TEFAP components.


Moderator: Jan Poppendieck, Professor Emerita of Sociology at Hunter College and Senior Faculty Fellow at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute.
RSVP to Forum
RSVP to Summit

Institute News
The Institute announces the launch of a new initiative to provide free Evaluation Technical Assistance to organizations conducting community food work!
The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative to provide our partner organizations with free, one-on-one Evaluation Technical Assistance (TA). Through this effort, we aim to build on our existing evaluation support infrastructure for partners conducting community food work. This individual support will build your organization’s current evaluation capacity, thus aiding your organization in pursuing relevant questions about your program’s implementation, outputs, and impact.

The first step in this process will be a conversation to help us understand exactly where your organization stands on its evaluation journey, your current organizational capacity for evaluation, and your priorities for evaluation moving forward.

Evaluation TA can take many forms, and may include, but is not limited to:
  • Survey design and implementation support
  • Focus group design and implementation support
  • Development of a theory of change
  • Development of evaluation questions and indicators
  • Data analysis support
  • Training for your staff on how to collect data

The deadline to enroll in our free, one-on-one Evaluation Technical Assistance support is October 31, 2018. We thank the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for its support of these services. If you are interested in strengthening your group’s evaluation capacity, or have questions about what TA might look like for your organization, please contact Katy Tomaino Fraser at
Healthy CUNY and CUNY Food Security Advocates at the #RealCollege Conference
In late September, members of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute had the opportunity to share current best practices and learn from others who play an active role in creating platforms that support students’ basic needs on college campuses across the United States at the #RealCollege Conference. The two-day conference connected professors, students, campus staff members, non-profit organizations, campus food pantry directors and others to work on alleviating hunger and homelessness  among the college student population. Over 500 attendees were hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and were welcomed to the new Hope Center for College, Community and Justice.  Read more.
“Waste Not” Panel at the UNHQ: Celebrating World Habitat Day & Urban October
On October 5th, the Institute’s Food Policy Monitor Director, Dr. Rositsa T. Ilieva, participated in the "Waste Not: Conversation with Chefs and Policy Makers" panel at the occasion of World Habitat Day and Urban October at the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in New York City. Dr. Ilieva’s contribution focused on waste management policies and initiatives put forward in New York City over the past ten years and, using the UN 2030 Agenda framework, invited attendees to reflect on the key intersections between waste-focused and broader urban food system and sustainable development goals. 

The event was co-organized by UN-Habitat and the James Beard Foundation (JBF). The panel was moderated by Alison Tozzi Liu (Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Editorial, JBF) and focused on city-driven innovations toward more efficient and sustainable ways of “Managing Municipal Solid Waste” – the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day (October 1) – and coincided with the launch of the JBF’s “Waste Not” cookbook and curriculum.

Other invited speakers included: Ian A. Marvy (Urban Outreach Specialist and NYC Coordinator, United States Department of Agriculture), Tracy Chang (Chef and Owner, PAGU restaurant in Cambridge, MA), Ana Caballero (Kitchen Manager, Fork and High Street on Market restaurants, Philadelphia, PA), and Sarah Munger(Assistant Executive Director, Rethink Food NYC). Christopher Williams, Director of UN-Habitat’s New York Office and Carla Mucavi, Director of the FAO Liaison office with the UN in NYC provided opening and closing remarks. Watch video of the panel.
New Publications
The Role of Metrics in Food Policy: Lessons from a Decade of Experience in New York City
by Nicholas Freudenberg, Craig Willingham & Nevin Cohen
In the last decade, New York City developed food policies designed to improve access to healthy food, reduce food insecurity, support community development, promote sustainable food systems, and improve conditions for food workers. Since 2012, the New York City Council has mandated the Mayor’s Office to prepare annual Food Metrics Reports to present data on selected food system indicators. This article uses these reports to assess how the metrics describe the city’s progress in implementing municipal food policies set in the last decade. Our analysis examines: (1) changes in the indicators that the city reports; (2) strengths and weaknesses of the Food Metrics Reports as a tool for monitoring policy enactment and impact; and (3) opportunities for improvements to the indica­tors and the development and implementation of future metrics. We found that the reports show improvements in 51% of the 37 indicators and sub-indicators, declines in 40% and no change or no assessment in the remaining indicators. While the food metrics process has provided valuable data on the implementation of selected city food policies, it has several limitations. By adding new indicators, tapping into additional data sources, and engaging additional constituencies in the process, New York City food metrics could play a more useful role in helping New York City to set goals and monitor progress towards the development of a more equitable, efficient, and sustainable munici­pal food system. The experience with food metrics in New York City suggests lessons for the use of food policy monitoring to improve food systems in other cities.  Read more of this article by Institute staff and the new special issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development on Local Government in Food Systems Work.
Social Media Data for Urban Sustainability
By Rositsa T. Ilieva and Timon McPhearson
Which are the busiest sidewalks in a city at different times of the day? Why are some urban parks more popular than others? Are our neighborhoods dictating what we (like to) eat and drink? Do geographic and perceived boundaries of urban segregation match and what does this mean for future urban equity and municipal planning? In a newly published Review article in Nature Sustainability, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute Project Director, Dr. Rositsa T. Ilieva, together with Dr. Timon McPhearson, Director of Urban Systems Lab, The New School, argue that increasingly ubiquitous big data from social media offer promising avenues to address these questions and aid transitions of complex social-ecological-technological urban systems to sustainability.  Read full article here.
Partner News / Opportunities
LEAD class 15 on a visit to City Harvest in New York
LEAD NY: Developing leaders for New York’s diverse food system
By Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director, LEAD NY

LEAD NY is a program of seminars, workshops and field travel, for committed individuals who wish to step up and make a difference in our food, agriculture, and natural resource industries, and the communities in which we live and work.

If you believe you or someone you know someone would be a good candidate for LEAD NY, they will be accepting applications for their next cohort beginning in January 2019. Application deadline is March 1, 2019, and the selection process will be completed later in the spring. The new cohort will begin fall of 2019. Please see their website for more information about the program. If you have additional questions or would like to be added to their prospects database contact their office at (607)255-7907 or
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