Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Project Title

Building Capacity for the Good Food Buffalo Coalition

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Date Awarded

April 4, 2022


Western NY


In Progress


A core strategy for improving health and food security is developing and implementing local food systems plans that reflect regional and local circumstances, strengths, and deficits.

Local food systems plans tackle issues such as: engaging health care systems to advocate for and provide healthier institutional food; starting new farmers markets and urban farms; changing zoning to allow the establishment of new supermarkets and other food access points; strengthening farm-to-school programs; expanding nutrition assistance programs; establishing or scaling local food hubs; and educating government officials and community members about what the food system is and why it is important. Most local planning groups are run by volunteers and are loosely organized. Full-time dedicated staff and organizational structure are needed to accelerate and improve the development of local food systems plans. In 2022, NYHealth awarded the Good Food Buffalo Coalition a grant to develop a formal local healthy food plan tailored to Western New York and advocate for policy changes to make healthy, local, and affordable food more available to New Yorkers.

Under this grant, the Coalition will address racial inequities in the food system by helping public institutions purchase more food from local farmers who are Black, indigenous, and people of color. It will hire a campaign director to lead the Coalition in improving community health by increasing community engagement and advocacy around institutional food procurement initiatives. The campaign director will build relationships and partnerships with farmers, community members, institutions, and policymakers and will develop an action plan with them. Tools and resources will also be developed for farmers of color who are interested in accessing institutional markets. This work will serve as a model for other coalitions and groups interested in supporting farmers who are Black, indigenous, and people of color and changing food procurement policies in their own communities. Results will be disseminated through statewide and national networks.

NYHealth is also supporting complementary food planning initiatives with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Adirondack Health Institute, Equity Advocates, and Newburgh Urban Farm and Food Initiative.