Mayor Adams Takes Executive Action to Promote Healthy Food in New York City
Mayor Signs Two Executive Orders to Formalize City’s Commitment to Good Food Purchasing and Promote Healthy Food Advertising on City Property
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed two executive orders signaling his administration’s commitment to procuring, preparing, and serving healthy and nutritious food citywide. The orders — signed at the Mercy Center Bronx, an emergency food pantry — further underscore Mayor Adams’ commitment to food justice and to reducing diet-related health inequities and disease outcomes.
“If we want to encourage New Yorkers to be healthier, the city must set the tone,” said Mayor Adams. “The executive orders we are signing today build on the progress we have made to better align our policies with our public health priorities and show that New York City continues to lead the nation on food policy that centers equity and justice.”
Executive Order 8, Commitment to Health and Nutrition: Food Standards and Good Food Purchasing repeals Executive Order 122 of 2008, which set forth standards for meals served by city agencies. It will task the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy with revising the City Agency Food Standards, which will be circulated to agency heads on April 1, 2022, and every three years after that.
The order also formalizes the city’s commitment to the Good Food Purchasing principles through transparency about how mayoral agencies’ procurements impact core values relating to local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition affecting the health of all New Yorkers.
Executive Order 9, Promotion of Healthy Foods in City Publications and Advertising on City Property requires that all promotional materials put out by agencies and advertisements on city property regarding food — to the extent practicable — feature healthy food.
Both orders build on the mayor’s bold food policy agenda, including the recent introduction of vegan options in all public schools and six new plant-based lifestyle medicine clinics in NYC Health + Hospital throughout the city.
Also announced at the event was the publication of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) new Food Distribution Program procurement, which will include fresh fruits and vegetables for the first time in the 30-year history of the program. Established in 1983, Emergency Food Assistance Program purchases and distributes food items to more than 600 food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs. As a part of the city’s response to the COVID-19 emergency, DSS also began to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables through a parallel program, known as Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution. This procurement will streamline these efforts to ensure the safe, consistent, and reliable supply of nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food to emergency food providers across the city, and direct public dollars to vendors that reflect the administration’s values of equity, public health, and minimizing environmental impact.
“Today’s executive orders are another important step in supporting children and families in their lifelong heath journey,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Aligning the city’s procurement and offering transparency in this area demonstrate that the city is committed to food system reform to put the city on a healthier, more sustainable path.”
“Access to healthy, nutritious food in a dignified manner is essential for every New Yorker,” said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “Today’s executive orders are critical steps in creating a healthier, more equitable, and transparent food system. We have dedication and commitment in this administration to making this happen and are proud of this important moment.”
“Nutrition is one of the keys to a happy and prosperous life, and this administration is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to healthy, quality food,” said DSS Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “As the mayor has said, if we want to encourage New Yorkers to eat healthier, the city must lead by example, which is why we are excited to release our new Food Distribution Program RFP that will help us distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to more than 500 food pantries and community organizations across the five boroughs via our Emergency Food Assistance Program.”
“Mayor Adams has been clear and steadfast in his stated commitment to reshaping our food systems to make them healthier and plant-forward for all New Yorkers, and especially those that bear the disproportionate burden of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, senior health advisor and incoming commissioner, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “As a primary care doctor, I know that healthy, plant-forward diets are as important as the medications I prescribe for my patients with chronic illnesses. And as an epidemiologist I know that heart disease continues to be the leading killer of New Yorkers, especially people of color, with diabetes not far behind. These executive orders and food assistance programs are crucial steps in the long-term work of making healthy food choices the standard, easy, and affordable choice for New Yorkers, and will save lives.”
“All New Yorkers deserve access to healthy and nutritious food that is good for both our bodies and our planet,” said Kate MacKenzie, executive director, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “The mayor’s announcement today of these two executive orders and the new Emergency Food Assistance Program procurement that includes fresh produce for the first time in the program’s history makes it clear that New York is paving a food-forward path that is values-driven. I thank Mayor Adams for his continued leadership in making sure all New Yorkers — regardless of zip code or income — have the opportunity to live their healthiest lives. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting stuff done.”
“Every public health strategy we can use to improve nutrition will have an impact and improve wellbeing,” said Dr. Michelle Morse, chief medical officer, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and deputy commissioner, Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness. “New York City has led the nation with innovative policies to protect the public’s health and help people make more informed decisions about food. These executive orders will improve the food environment for New Yorkers and create more possibilities for healthy food options.”
“It is important for us to create opportunities for all families, regardless of their zip code, to have access to fresh, healthy, high-quality nutritious food and live healthier lifestyles,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. “This was the goal when we passed Intro. 1664 in the City Council and I am proud to see this work continue under Mayor Adams’ administration. I applaud the mayor for today’s executive orders and their commitment to reducing systemic health inequities that for far too long have impacted our most vulnerable communities.”
“I applaud Mayor Eric Adams for setting the standard toward our public health priorities. Healthy lifestyle choices, including a change in dietary habits can contribute to the reduction and management of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes,” said New York City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “The executive orders, coupled with the recent food policy changes, will have numerous benefits as well as nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food choices — leading to healthier lives, especially for communities of color.”
“Access to fresh, sustainable produce in underserved communities can significantly curb chronic health conditions,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “I am thrilled that Mayor Eric Adams is committed to procuring, advancing, and providing nutritious food and promoting good food purchasing principals citywide. Codifying these principals will ensure local M/WBE’s and local farmers markets, like the Laurelton Farmers Market and other local food purveyors, have a clear, equitable process to provide healthy foods for all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the New York City Council and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to continue to steward healthy and nutritious food practices.”
“The widespread promotion and distribution of healthy and nutritious food is essential to our city’s public health and sustainability, especially for young people and in traditionally underserved communities of color,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “These executive orders will be a crucial aspect to the holistic approach that is necessary to foster and sustain healthy communities.”
“Healthy eating is an essential component of our wellbeing,” said New York City Councilmember Chi Osse. “It’s especially encouraging to know that we will be prioritizing such food in our schools, both for the current health of our students and for starting good habits early in life.”
“I applaud the mayor for his focus on the health of New Yorkers, particularly regarding his support of locally produced food,” said New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer. “From schools to senior centers to pantries, we are spending millions of dollars in food purchases — so why shouldn’t that money be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as produce from New York State farms? If this effort is coupled with technical assistance for procurement along with training on how to prepare meals, I am 100 percent on board.”
“The pandemic has greatly increased food insecurity in Lower Manhattan, and with that often comes families having to choose between food they can afford and food that is healthy,” said New York City Councilmember Chris Marte. “I look forward to seeing these executive orders in action so we can bring accessible, fresh, and healthy food to all communities.”
“When thousands of our neighbors turned to food pantries during the pandemic, many for the first time in their lives, the federal government stepped in to ensure food pantries had the resources to purchase fresh foods,” said New York City Councilmember Alexa Aviles. “I applaud the mayor for taking action to ensure that fresh fruits and vegetables will continue to be available to pantries and to New Yorkers most in need. I also welcome reforms to city procurement as an important first step to getting healthy, delicious food on the table for every New Yorker. Revising City Agency Food Standards is an important step towards making good on the city’s commitments to transparency, sustainability, workplace standards, and culturally-appropriate food purchasing.”
“The mayor’s commitment to transforming New York City’s food policy is crucial to changing our culture of health, especially in the Bronx,” said New York City Councilmember Kevin C. Riley. “As an advocate for self-care and a major champion for a healthier Bronx, #Not62, what we eat is fundamental to leading longer quality lives. New Yorkers need increased visibility and accessibility to nutritional eating as the new norm.”
“Establishing a greater emphasis on a transparent and sustainable food system to reshape the way public institutions purchase food is critical in our city,” said New York City Councilmember Althea Stevens. “As many New Yorkers suffer from health issues each year, it’s beneficial for us to work proactively to align agencies to produce and promote healthy living in our communities. Ensuring adequate assistance and guidance on health and wellness to our communities today can guarantee a richer tomorrow.”
“I applaud Mayor Eric Adams leadership in making healthy foods more accessible for New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farias. “Today’s executive orders mark a historic moment in which the Department of Social Services’ new Food Distribution Program procurement will include fresh fruits and vegetables for the first time in the 30-year history of the program. In Council District 18, many of our residents struggle to find both healthy and affordable ingredients and meals for their families. Implementing these policies is important for me specifically because my community is not only a food desert, but many people are also food insecure. I look forward to working with the mayor in implementing these policies in our community because the people of Council District 18 and New York City deserve access to the best ingredients to live healthier, better lives. The executive orders being signed today are a great step forward in expanding food justice through all five boroughs.”
“Today’s executive orders show that the city is prepared to establish healthy eating habits within its own agencies which in turn will motivate New Yorkers to a healthier living lifestyle,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “This plan will improve nutrition, increase awareness of healthy food and formalizes the city’s commitment to enhancing public health.”
“Our youth are our most valuable natural resource, so helping them to grow up healthy is critical,” said New York City Councilmember Robert Holden. “I applaud the mayor for providing healthier food options, especially in our schools.”
“Mayor Adams’ commitment to food justice is on full display today with his fresh effort to raise the standards for the food our city serves and use the full force of the city’s purchasing power to promote equitable access to healthy food,” said New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu. Together, we can fight hunger and malnutrition, and do it in a way that protects our environment, respects our workers, and improves animal welfare. Make no mistake: This approach to food policy will add years to the lifespan of Black and Brown New Yorkers.”
“To create healthier and more sustainable communities, we need to ensure healthy food is accessible far and wide,” said New York City Councilmember Francisco Moya. “These executive orders by Mayor Adams will better equip our city and the very communities hardest hit by COVID for the future. This is how we strengthen food security and help prevent diseases that are highly prevalent in the communities I represent.”
“The health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers was strengthened today by the mayor’s signing of two executive orders that will ensure healthy food options citywide,” said New York City Councilmember and Health Committee Chair Lynn Schulman. “Our ability to recover from COVID is premised on the health of all our communities, and the mayor’s actions today are a big step in that direction.”
“I am delighted to see Mayor Adams be so dedicated in improving the health of all New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse. “I am particularly pleased to hear his announcement about the Department of Social Services’ new Food Distribution Program. Far too many families across our city are experiencing food insecurity, and it is imperative that our city government take aggressive and immediate action to ensure that no New Yorker goes hungry in one of the world’s richest cities.”
“Increasing our neighborhoods’ access to healthy and nutritious foods is essential as we look to improve the well-being of our communities,” said New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams. “We need to emphasize the importance of involving and engaging community members in these conversations. This initiative will serve as a way to encourage the community to examine the areas that need important efforts to improve access to healthy foods at a neighborhood level. This will also help engage the community as it will help identify the resources necessary to bring a variety of healthy options to their communities. I want to thank Mayor Adams for signing these executive orders to help encourage New Yorkers to be healthier and promote healthier food options for our communities.”
“For too long our students have been served unhealthy and substandard meals at school,” said New York City Councilmember Joann Ariola. “Students deserve well-balanced, high-quality meals, especially when it may be their nutrition for the day.”
“We know that the kind of food we eat has significant impacts on our health, and I appreciate that we have a mayor that is making food policy a priority,” said New York City Councilmember Eric Dinowitz. “I am also encouraged to see Mayor Adams look at this issue through a lens of justice because we know that the availability of fresh, healthy food is plentiful in some parts of the city and scarce in others, including here in the Bronx. Everyone should have access to foods that nourish and improve health outcomes.”
“As a lifelong vegetarian, this is an exciting leap forward for our city,” said New York City Councilmember Justin Brannan. “We are not talking seriously about public health and climate change unless we are talking about the effects of animal agriculture and meat production on our planet. While New York City alone cannot completely stop climate change, we can make a major dent in curbing its effects and even reversing the perilous trajectory we are currently facing. Our food system plays a critical role in that. Cities are centers of consumption, and therefore government must look at the foods it purchases for schools, prisons, and hospitals as another way to address climate change. I applaud the mayor for his continued commitment to bringing climate-friendly, healthy, and equitable food to our communities and ensuring our city’s procurement prioritizes a higher proportion of healthy, plant-based food.”
“We need to utilize the full purchasing power of the city government’s procurement process to eliminate food insecurity in our communities,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Won. “The city has been providing food for many food-insecure families for decades through public school lunches and other programs. Our schools must serve food that is healthy, high quality, and culturally competent for our students.”
“The signing of these two executive orders will lead to material improvements in New Yorkers’ health,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “I’m encouraged by Mayor Adams’ commitment to healthy foods in our city, and I thank him for his leadership on this very important issue.”
“Our multi-sector Good Food Purchasing Program coalition is comprised of over 40 food system advocates that represent five value areas — animal welfare, environmental sustainability, labor, local economies, and nutrition,” said Ribka Getachew, director, New York Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) Campaign at Community Food Advocates. “We are incredibly excited to have a mayor that is a champion of Good Food Purchasing as is reflected by Mayor Adams’ signing of Executive Order 8. This coalition has been advocating for a formal codification of GFPP since the inception of the Good Food Purchasing Program Campaign in 2016, so this is an especially historic day for food system advocates. We look forward to deepening our partnership with the administration to expand the reach of GFPP in New York City and ensure the long-term and sustainable success. There is strength in our collective power so working with the Adams administration to maximize the city’s massive institutional purchasing power of half of a billion dollars will radically transform our local and regional food economies!”
“The best way to encourage healthy eating is to make the healthy choice the easy — and the preferred — choice,” said Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, Emerita. “Mayor Adams’ executive orders are a terrific step toward creating a food environment that makes it easier for New Yorkers to eat better and stay healthy.”
“Food Bank For New York City applauds Mayor Adams’ leadership and commitment to Good Food Purchasing values and standards to ensure preparation and delivery of healthy meals citywide,” said Leslie Gordon, president and CEO, Food Bank For New York City. “Leaning on our robust partnerships with schools, hospitals, senior centers, food pantries and soup kitchens in the five boroughs, Food Bank is eager to continue our work with the mayor to connect New Yorkers of all ages to culturally appropriate and quality nutritious food.”
“The city’s explicit and actual commitment to data transparency in food purchasing is a game changing example of good government accountability in using their significant power of procurement for the public good,” said Paula Daniels, co-founder, Center for Good Food Purchasing, and member, Mayor Adams’ food transition team.
“The mayor’s commitment to the Good Food Purchasing Program is a win for New York City,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., president and CEO, New York State Health Foundation. “These executive orders will help ensure that New Yorkers have access to quality meals they need to thrive — in all the places our public agencies serve them. It will also strengthen demand for foods that are healthy, sustainable, and local.”
“We applaud Mayor Adams signing two executive orders in procuring, preparing, and serving healthy and nutritious food through city agencies,” said Charmaine Ruddock, project director, Bronx Health REACH. “The Bronx experiences some of the greatest food inequities and social injustices in the city and the state, reflected by the borough’s long standing poor health outcomes. Codifying the Good Food Purchasing Program, which expands the city’s food standards commitment is an encouraging step in helping to improve the health of Bronx residents and moving the Bronx from being the unhealthiest county.”
“The fresh fruits and vegetables we receive from the city on a daily basis are a game changer to us emergency food providers and, moreover, to the thousands of families who are able to serve their children this beautiful produce,” said Alexander Rapaport, executive director, Masbia Soup Kitchen Network. “Week by week, it is changing people’s food habits. I am so excited that the mayor is solidifying healthy food behaviors and making it trendy by changing the way New York City — one of the nation’s largest food procurers — buys food. When done at such a large scale, the outcome should be very promising and felt very soon.”
“Today, Mayor Eric Adams is taking significant steps toward ensuring every New Yorker has regular access to fresh, healthy food and that New York City is regularly evaluating its nutrition standards,” said Rachel Sabella, director, No Kid Hungry New York. “For hundreds of thousands of kids, the most reliable and nutritious meals they get each day are the meals they eat at school and steps like this, which make school meals healthier, will have a long-lasting impact on student well-being. When kids are nourished, they’re healthier, they do better in school and they’re better able to reach their full potential.”
“United Way of New York City applauds these executive orders as a critical step in ensuring equitable access to healthy food in our city,” said Amy Sananman, senior vice president, chief impact and strategy officer, United Way of New York City. “We believe all New Yorkers, including those served by New York City agencies and public programs, must have dignified access to culturally appropriate, nutritious, healthy food that adheres to dietary restrictions and preferences, and we are committed to working alongside the administration and partners to continue to advance this vision together.”
“Expanding the choice and availability of fresh, healthy food within the Emergency Feeding Assistance Program new RFP is a huge win for organizations like the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and all the vulnerable communities we and other emergency food providers serve across New York City,” said Greg Silverman, chief executive officer/executive director, West Side Campaign Against Hunger. “Three cheers for the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, HRA, and our new mayor for making this happen.”
“Met Council commends Mayor Eric Adams’ leadership and commitment to providing New Yorkers with access to healthy, nutritious food,” said David G. Greenfield, CEO, Met Council on Jewish Poverty. “Our city must work to ensure no New Yorker goes without healthy food options and these executive orders are a significant step in the right direction. Met Council and food providers across this city have a passionate ally and advocate in Mayor Adams and his administration. Access to healthy food is a vital aspect of our work and the work that must be done to end hunger in New York City. We look forward to working side-by-side with the Adams administration to create a better, healthier future for all New Yorkers.”
“Every New Yorker deserves to have access to fresh, nutritious food,” said Jilly Stephens, CEO, City Harvest. “We applaud Mayor Adams for his bold commitment to healthy eating in our city. With food insecurity still much higher than pre-pandemic levels, we need every part of city government and the private sector working together. Today’s announcement is a strong step towards finally ending food insecurity in New York.”
“Bravo to Mayor Eric Adams for being a champion for purchasing and promoting healthy, nutritious, sustainable, and just foods and committing to Good Food Purchasing values,” said Pamela Koch, associate professor, Teachers College, Columbia University. “When all New Yorkers eat well each and every day, this is the cornerstone to improve public health, care for our planet’s ecosystem, and eliminate inequities.”
“UJA-Federation of New York thanks Mayor Adams for his commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food — and for acknowledging the important role that nutrition plays in public health,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York. “The mayor’s two new executive orders, as well as streamlining of the Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution and Emergency Food Assistance programs, will ensure that food pantry systems like ours across New York are able to provide families with access to the food and support they need to live healthy lives.”
“Harnessing the purchasing power of government is a critical tool to not only increase the availability of healthier food but also to spur the development of a more climate-friendly and equitable food system,” said Mark A. Izeman, New York regional director, Natural Resources Defense Council. “Mayor Adams is off to a fast start in the all-important work of providing healthier, more sustainable food for New Yorkers who consume hundreds of millions of city-served meals every year. We look forward to working with the mayor and his team to develop a nation-leading approach to purchasing food that is better for our residents and the planet.”
“The procurement power of New York City agencies is strong within our local food systems. Efforts to increase the standards and transparency of equitable and value-based procurement of regionally grown and harvested food — including fruit, vegetables, and grains — will have a demonstrative impact on food justice and health equity for all New Yorkers,” said Qiana Mickie, founding principal, QJM Multiprise. “I applaud Mayor Adams’ commitment to integrating Good Food Purchasing principles within our city’s procurement. Increasing the multiplier effort of our local food economy will not only strengthen our regional supply chain, but also create a healthier New York for years to come.”
“The James Beard Foundation is supportive of Mayor Eric Adams’s executive orders to codify the Good Food Purchasing Program and to require the promotion of nutritious foods in city materials and among city agencies,” said Alexina Cather, director of policy advocacy and sustainability, James Beard Foundation. “His commitment to make New York City a leader in procurement by implementing the Good Food Purchasing Program is critical to human and environmental health. The program’s core values align closely with the James Beard Foundation’s work to increase equity, transparency, health, and sustainability throughout the food system. We look forward to engaging in future conversations about policies that increase equity, sustainability, and transparency.”
“On behalf of the New York City’s Nutrition Education Network, we would like to offer our support for the mayor’s executive orders to implement Good Food Purchasing principles and the promotion of healthy foods in city publications and agencies,” said Tutu Badaru, chair, New York City’s Nutrition Education Network (NYCNEN). “NYCNEN is committed to the improvement of the food and nutrition environment for a healthier New York City. These two executive orders will support further investment in our regional food system as well as increase access to fresh and healthy foods for our neighbors. In addition, the Good Food Purchasing principles take into account important issues of food justice and sustainability, which have historically been excluded from the conversation on food access. We believe that both orders will continue to break down the barriers to good food for every New Yorker.”
“Executive Order 8 is an important step toward using the power of the public plate to procure and serve food that promotes health, the environment, local economies, workers, and animal welfare. By requiring the city to report on its values-based purchasing efforts, advocates for good food procurement will be better able to track progress and ensure that the city puts its money where its mouth is,” said Craig Willingham, managing director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. “In prohibiting city agencies from promoting unhealthy food, Executive Order 9 recognizes the power of marketing to perpetuate the health disparities in diabetes and other diet-related diseases, especially in the Black and Latinx communities that the food industry preys on. Now that city facilities are off-limits to unhealthy food advertisements, we hope that other forms of more pervasive predatory marketing of ultra-processed unhealthy foods on billboards and through social media are next.”
“We are grateful that Mayor Adams understands just how important it is to use the city’s mighty food purchasing power to make food healthier, better for workers, and less harmful to the environment.” said Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America. “We hope these improved food procurement policies can be a model for the nation.”