Transforming State Policy to Purchase Healthier Food
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
September 28, 2021
Through its agencies and public institutions, New York State purchases and serves hundreds of millions of meals annually, typically to low-income and vulnerable populations.
New York City alone spends more than $500 million a year to serve meals in schools, hospitals, correctional and long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, and senior centers. Given the massive scale of food purchasing, public institutions can harness their purchasing power to buy foods of higher nutritional value. A leading model for this change is the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), which encourages better practices, guiding public institutions to make purchases that align with nutrition, local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, and animal welfare. Community Food Advocates (CFA) spearheads the New York City GFPP Coalition, advocating for GFPP’s implementation. A key barrier is New York State’s procurement policy, which currently requires municipalities to select the lowest-cost bidder—making it difficult for agencies to account for factors like nutritional quality or environmental impact and hindering full adoption of GFPP. In 2021, NYHealth awarded CFA a grant to help transform the way public agencies in New York purchase food to provide healthier meals.
Under this grant, CFA strengthened its statewide coalition and educated policymakers and stakeholders on the need for more flexible food procurement policies. It continued building relationships with decision makers, as well as advised municipalities interested in adopting GFPP.