Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Project Title

COVID-19 Impact on New York Food System Collaborative Project

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Date Awarded

July 6, 2020


Hudson Valley

Long Island





The COVID-19 pandemic has upended New York City’s food system and exposed cracks that threaten to widen deep-seated existing inequities in the food labor force, food security and access, and prevalence of diet-related disease.

New food distribution models have emerged to address hunger and nutrition needs. But, as the pandemic continues, new threats and opportunities will arise. It will be important to assess, monitor, and compile evidence on effective and equitable programming and policy. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the North Star Fund (fiscal sponsor) a grant in support of a research collaborative that will monitor and assess the response by New York City’s food system to COVID-19.

Under this grant, The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy (Tisch), the City University of New York Urban Food Policy Institute (CUNY), and the New York City Food Policy Institute at Hunter College (Hunter) formed a research collaborative to explore how existing and new COVID-19-related programs (1) contribute to reducing food insecurity; (2) ensure access to healthy, affordable food; (3) restore the local and regional food economy; and (4) protect food workers. Tisch focused on the practices and policies of institutions such as schools, child care programs, and senior centers. CUNY focused on interactions among components of the municipal and regional food system as a whole, including retail food and its workforce. Hunter focused on individual-level food access. The collaborative collected and analyzed data, as well as met with senior government and nonprofit leaders and advisors to elicit feedback and present preliminary findings. The collaborative then prepared policy briefs, reports, and op-eds and organized webinars, community forums, and legislative briefings to assist policymakers and advocates in making informed decisions for restoring food security and the regional food economy.

Read the recommendations, “Towards a NYC COVID-19 Food Response in 2021.”