Food Forward NYC: Advancing Good Food Purchasing Across New York
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
November 2, 2021
The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is a nationwide initiative that harnesses institutional purchasing power to shift food systems and encourages its participants to purchase healthy, sustainable, local, and humanely produced food.
New York City became the program’s largest participant in 2019; its public school system alone serves 200 million meals each year. In 2020, New York City solidified its commitment to GFPP by codifying the Office of Food Policy. The Office of Food Policy has collected data on the food products each City agency purchases, and initial findings suggest that there are multiple challenges for large agencies to procure fresh, minimally processed food from local farmers and minority- and women-owned business enterprises. New York City’s GFPP now needs a detailed work plan for implementation and requires more technical expertise on the specific regulations, bidding processes, and infrastructure of each agency to do so. In 2021, NYHealth awarded the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City a grant to assess the City’s food procurement landscape and produce a detailed work plan for GFPP implementation.
Under this grant, the Fund reviewed City agencies’ procurement rules and regulations, solicitation processes, contract language, communication methods, and infrastructure needs to support the purchase of fresh foods. It produced a detailed work plan with specific actions to improve food procurement. Recommendations included regulatory language that agencies can use to designate preference for products from local farmers and minority- and women-owned business enterprises; ways to simplify solicitation language; contractual terms that are more inclusive of smaller businesses; methods to communicate effectively with smaller vendors about potential contractual opportunities; and a model to ensure GFPP monitoring and enforcement are consistent across agencies. For each recommendation, the Fund established a timeline for implementation, identified responsible parties, and listed necessary resources. It also conducted interviews with City agencies, supply chain experts, and existing vendors to identify barriers and solutions. The final assessment and work plan also served as models for Buffalo and Rochester, other cities in the State currently working to implement GFPP.