NEW YORK, NY, August 2, 2019 – Yesterday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced his plans for growing food equity in New York City. We applaud the Speaker for taking leadership to ensure that NYC adopts the Good Food Purchasing Program, a framework that uses public food procurement to build the conditions for a local and regional food system that is healthy, humane, ecologically viable, supports all food supply chain workers, and that advances transparency and racial equity.
The goal of the Good Food Purchasing Program is to help public agencies – such as the NYC Dept. for the Aging and the Dept. of Education – buy their food from values-driven suppliers by creating meaningful and achievable goals for food purchasing in each of the Program’s 5 value areas: local economies, nutrition, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, and animal welfare. The NYC Good Food Purchasing Campaign – led by Community Food Advocates in collaboration with the Food Chain Workers Alliance, City University of New York (CUNY) Urban Food Policy Institute and the Center for Good Food Purchasing – is advocating for a robust policy that mandates that all of our Cities’ food-serving agencies be given the tools to increase access to good food. This would ensure that all New York City agencies that serve food would hold their food suppliers to higher standards and that various members of our Cities’ population – from students and senior citizens to homeless persons and incarcerated individuals to families in need and those receiving medical care – would benefit from the Program.
The Good Food Purchasing Program is currently being implemented in 15 cities and jurisdictions nationwide – from the City of Los Angeles to Chicago and the greater Cook County to the City of Boston – which are on their way to shifting over $895 million to vendors that uphold the 5 values of the Good Food Purchasing Program. New York City could be the next city to join this list. As Ribka Getachew, Director of the NYC Good Food Purchasing Campaign reminds us, ‘food injustice is no coincidence and is a far too pervasive phenomenon that must be rectified. The commitment made by Speaker Johnson to codify Good Food Purchasing legislation in NYC is a major step towards drastically improving the ways in which food is purchased to feed our Cities’ most marginalized and food-insecure. Good food can in fact create a food system that builds our local food economy, yields nourishing food, sustains our environment, treats farm animals humanely, and ensures that our nation’s farmers, farm-workers and all workers throughout the food supply chain thrive. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that good food is a right and not a luxury.”
Here in New York City, we have been building a broad coalition, comprised of experts in the five value areas, that is advocating for this policy to be adopted city-wide. If adopted, the Program would create a tremendous shift in the food system by impacting the roughly 240 million meals served every year by NYC’s food service agencies. A Good Food Purchasing Program would help guide agencies such as the Dept. of Education – which serves approximately 172 million meals/year with a food procurement budget second only to the U.S. Military – Administration for Children Services, Dept. of Homeless Services, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the Dept. of Corrections, amongst several others, in pursuing values-driven food procurement standards. “Speaker Johnson’s support of the Good Food Purchasing Program puts New York City on the path towards ensuring that our tax dollars further the cause of food equity by transforming the way city agencies purchase food in order to create a healthier, more sustainable food system,” Craig Willingham, Deputy Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, shares. We believe in the potential for our City to drastically improve the food system in our city, region, and nation, and we commend the Speaker in taking the first step towards actualizing this commitment.
“Food Chain Workers Alliance thanks Speaker Johnson for his support for the Good Food Purchasing Program. The policy has the potential to not only redirect tens of millions of dollars to local producers and improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare, but also to create the infrastructure to improve wages and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of food workers and their families,” says Suzanne Adely of the Food Chain Workers Alliance.
We applaud the Speaker’s strong commitment to growing food equity in New York City. We recognize how imperative it is that the Good Food Purchasing Program be adopted and codified so as to mandate full participation in the program throughout all of the City’s food-serving public agencies. We will continue to work with him and the rest of the City Council and look forward to deepening our partnership in helping to adopt, and successfully implement, the Good Food Purchasing Program in NYC.