CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor
e-newsletter of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute  
Putting Food on the Green New Deal Menu: A 7-Point Plan

By CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute & Partner Organizations
A Green New Deal offers an opportunity to elevate the role of food production, land access, public procurement, and anti-hunger and nutrition policies and regulations as levers to fix our wasteful and inequitable agri-food system. Earlier this year, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute convened a group of academics, practitioners, and activists to imagine how a Green New Deal at the city, state, and federal levels could take stock of this opportunity. This plan is based on that discussion and focuses on changes in New York City, New York State and federal policies.
Read More & Download the Plan

Food Policy Highlights
Green New Deal efforts continue to pick up steam across the nation. On August 22, Senator Bernie Sanders released his Green New Deal plan which includes $410 billion investment in food and farming transitions and several initiatives to fight climate change. These included: incentives for community ownership of farmland; investments in historically underserved communities to grow the number of farmers of color; $41 billion for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers; $160 billion for the soil health improvements and carbon sequestration; and, a $160 billion investment to combat hunger and help states develop food recovery and composting programs, to mention a few. On September 10, Senator Cory Booker introduced The Climate Stewardship Act of 2019 which focuses on voluntary climate stewardship practices more than 100 million acres of farmland with the goal to reduce or offset agricultural emissions by one-third by 2025. Investments will support local and regional food systems, farmland protection, soil health research, and on-farm renewable energy production. At the city level, joining New York and Los Angeles, this August Seattle announced its own Green New Deal Resolution with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The resolution mentions the use of proceeds from a soda tax to promote healthy foods, along with other financial measures meant to improve health and address climate change.
A New Wave of Food Policy in New York City. On August 14 the New York City Council introduced more than a dozen legislative measures connected to many of the food system goals outlined in the Growing Food Equity in New York City Agenda announced by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson this summer. On September 18, 2019 City Council held a joint public hearing of the Committee of Economic Development, the Committee of Education, and the Committee of General Welfare inviting public input on a comprehensive food policy package comprised of 14 bills and 2 resolutions. CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute staff testified in support of the measures and recommended that the City take into consideration several key factors to ensure their effective implementation in the coming months and years. A separate article reporting on the hearing is forthcoming. 
Read the Testimony
Good Food Purchasing. Evaluation Results on the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) of San Francisco’s Unified School District SY17-18 reveal that that District met (and exceeded) the baseline standards for two of the five the GFPP value categories – local economies and healthy nutrition. The District dedicates a fifth of its $7.6 million budget to family- or cooperatively-owned local farms and processors and can boast the highest level of compliance for nutrition standards among GFPP cities. For the end of SY20-21, SFUSD aims to have 37% of its food budget spent in compliance with GFPP standards. The City of New York is now taking first steps toward codifying citywide GFPP policies and legislation. In June, the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, in collaboration with the several organizations including the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Community Food Advocates, published a research report on the barriers and opportunities to advance the GFPP in New York for specific city agencies. 
Food Policy from Elsewhere. On August 20, the UK government opened a call for ideas from consumers, businesses, academics and NGOs to inform the development of a new National Food Strategy (NFS). Contributors are invited to address how to ensure that the UK food system is resilient to climate change and how safe, healthy, and affordable food is accessible to everyone regardless of their income or place of residence. High uncertainty has led to acute concerns that a no-deal Brexit on October 31, 2019 could lead to spike in food insecurity in the country, as recently summarized by Professor Tim Lang in The Lancet. The call for ideas seeks workable solutions that would ensure the UK’s food system is fit for purpose in the coming years. The NFS is open to comments through October 25, 2019.
Commentary: Diversity in Nutrition and Dietetics Programs
By Ann Gaba, Assistant Professor, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Diversity and Inclusion Statement states: The Academy encourages diversity and inclusion by striving to recognize, respect and include differences in ability, age, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, size, and socioeconomic characteristics in the nutrition and dietetics profession. A recent article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (JAND) Strategies and Recommendations to Increase Diversity in Dietetics points out that “Examples of the Academy’s efforts are the Diversity Mentoring Toolkit, member interest groups, mentoring programs, diversity promotion grants, and extensive cultural competency resources.” However, these recommendations may be hindering progress towards attaining a diverse nutrition and dietetics workforce.
Read Commentary
Take Action!
  • Protect SNAP! 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 23, 2019
  • Put Water on MyPlate! Did you know that drinking water is not included in MyPlate? You can help change that! Submit a comment to the USDA and HHS by May 1, 2020. Learn more at

  • Work for Food Justice! Food Sleuth Radio interviewed Leah Penniman, Founding Co-Director of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018). Learn more about Soul Fire Farm (Petersburg, NY 12138) and Get Involved
New Research
Food, Cities, and the SDGs. On July 8, 2019, the US chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launched a 2019 US Cities Sustainable Development Report tracking the UN SDGs 2030 performance of 105 US cities. The New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) landed in 17th place. The NY MSA performed poorly in two SDG areas: SDGs 10 (Reducing inequality) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and had a poor to moderate performance on six SDGs among which SDG 12 focusing on responsible consumption and production, including food and municipal waste and sustainable public procurement. Comprehensive just and sustainable food procurement policies such as the Good Food Purchasing Program (see also CUFPI’s recent GFPP report) can aid the NY region in significantly improving its performance in those areas.
Food and Climate. On August 8, the IPCC released a Special Report on Climate and Land calling attention to the link between climate, healthy soils, and food security and nutrition, among other topics. Researchers warn that “the stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases” and that “increased atmospheric CO2 levels can also lower the nutritional quality of crops.” A transition to agroecological farming practices, as recommended by Green New Deal agendas put forward at the federal level, along with local working groups like the one convened by the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute (see Feature in this issue), and less carbon-intensive diets, will play a pivotal role.
Food and Labor. In August 2019, The Center for the New York City Affairs released a new research report titled New York City’s $15 Minimum Wage and Restaurant Employment and Earnings. This is the first assessment of restaurant employment and earnings over the 2013-18 period when New York City increased minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $13.50. The report notes that “contrary to fears of massive job losses, $20 Big Macs, and shuttered restaurants, we found a thriving industry.” Restaurant profitability has however been challenged by third-party delivery services (such as Grubhub) and rise in real estate prices and rents in Manhattan, which sometimes increased by 20-50 percent. This threatens particularly “good food jobs” and small businesses which incur higher capital costs to implement business models that can advance healthy eating and fair wages in tandem. (Read more in CUFPI's 2018 Good Food Jobs report)
Upcoming Events
Putting Food on the Green New Deal Menu

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | 9:30 am - 11:30 am 
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, 7th Fl. Auditorium, 55 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027

  • Erin McDonald, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, New York City Deputy Mayor's Office of Health and Human Services
  • Steve Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Scenic Hudson
  • Nicholas Freudenberg, Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and Distinguished Professor of Public Health, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
More Info & RSVP to Forum
Institute News
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In the media
Research and publications
  • Institute Faculty fellow, Dr. Melissa Fuster (Assistant Professor in Public Health Nutrition at Brooklyn College) was awarded a 5-year NIH-NHLBI K01 training grant, for the project “Applying innovative approaches to design and implement an intervention to improve cardiovascular health in Hispanic/Latino communities through restaurants.” The grant provides training in Systems Science, Human-Centered Design and Implementation Science. These innovative approaches will be used to engage restaurant stakeholders in the development and testing of an intervention to improve nutrition environments in NYC Puerto Rican and Dominican restaurants.
  • At a National Academies forum in Washington DC this summer, Institute Research Director and CUNY SPH Associate Professor Nevin Cohen weighed in on the role of technology and social innovation in the food system. Read more
  • Institute Faculty fellow, Dr. Melissa Fuster published a paper on Latino pre-adolescent children and their parents’ perceived cultural influences on food practices. Read full article
  • Institute Research Director Dr. Nevin Cohen contributed to a chapter in a new open access book on Designing Urban Food Policies by Brand et al. (Eds.) (2019)



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