Advancing the Good Food Purchasing Program in New York State
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
December 14, 2022
Through its agencies and public institutions, New York State purchases and serves hundreds of millions of meals annually, typically to low-income and marginalized populations.
New York City alone spends $500 million annually to serve more than 200 million meals in schools; hospitals; correctional and long-term care facilities; homeless shelters; and senior and childcare centers. Given their massive scale, public institutions can harness their purchasing power to promote health by buying foods of higher nutritional value. Adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is one way to change how public institutions purchase food. GFPP encourages better practices, guiding public institutions to make purchases that align with five values: nutrition, local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, and animal welfare. 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 Community Food Advocates (CFA) a grant to advance GFPP in New York State. In 2022, NYHealth awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) a grant to support GFPP and help advocate for changes to New York State’s procurement policies for municipalities purchasing food.
Under this grant, NRDC, along with CFA and a coalition of partners, will educate stakeholders about proposed policy changes that would provide authority for municipalities to choose better food that might be higher priced, but has more nutritional value. It will provide legal support on the complex web of State procurement policies, deepening the coalition’s knowledge of the legal obstacles municipalities face when purchasing food. NRDC will also provide strategic advice to stakeholders and policymakers to expand and strengthen the campaign.