Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Project Title

Assessing COVID-19 Impact on New York’s Food System, Phase 2

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Date Awarded

June 15, 2021






The COVID-19 pandemic upended New York City’s food system and significantly increased food insecurity, exposing deep-seated inequities.

In 2020, NYHealth awarded a grant to support a research collaborative comprising food policy experts from City College of New York (CUNY), Hunter College, and Columbia University. The collaborative conducted data collection and analysis on the health and economic impact of the first six months of the pandemic on New York City’s food system. It also shared its recommendations for responding to the immediate crisis with elected officials, advocates, health professionals, community-based organizations, and food businesses. As the City transitions out of crisis mode, reliable and timely data are needed to help shape comprehensive approaches, maximize limited resources, and ensure accountability for healthy food access. In 2021, NYHealth awarded the North Star Fund a second grant for the research collaborative to further examine the City’s response to food insecurity and adjust programs and policies to meet changing needs.

Under this grant, the collaborative focused on three issues: (1) individual barriers and facilitators to health food access; (2) institutional barriers and opportunities at the New York City Department of Education; and (3) potential new models that New York City can adopt to reduce food insecurity and promote better nutrition. It provided action-oriented recommendations for public officials, City agencies, and community organizations to advocate for a healthier, more equitable food system. The collaborative distributed its findings broadly through press releases and op-eds to local, national, and international media outlets; their respective mailing lists, which combined reach policymakers, community-based organizations, advocates, farmers, and researchers; and panel discussion events for various stakeholders to encourage implementation of recommendations.