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Study takes stock of pandemic food policy in New York

Study takes stock of pandemic food policy in New York
Thematic breakdown of New York City and State pandemic-specific food policies introduced during the state of emergency (March 2020–June 2021). Credit: Cities (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2023.104222

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted food systems across the United States, prompting governments to design policies both to mitigate short-term disruptions and improve food systems long-term, making them more equitable and resilient. Policy changes, particularly in New York, were implemented so quickly and were so drastic that tracking and assessing them is daunting.

To address this, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute researchers Rositsa Ilieva, Katherine Tomaino Fraser and Nevin Cohen led a study examining 16 months of food activity during the New York State-issued state of emergency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 through June 2021.

Most of the breakthrough pandemic food policies examined were of temporary character and tied to the duration of the emergency, though some went through multiple iterations and became codified as permanent programs. Examples of these include the city's outdoor dining program, allowing restaurants to expand their seating areas using part of the streets, and the state's farm-to-food bank program Nourish New York, connecting farmers who have surplus produce with emergency food providers working to ensure healthy food access for food insecure New Yorkers.

The findings provide insight into the trajectory of food policymaking in New York during the pandemic and the areas that food justice activists, researchers and should focus on as the COVID-19 pandemic is abated.

"Helping track and take stock of pandemic food policy, which continues beyond the COVID-19 emergency, is key to building longer-term city and regional food system resiliency," Dr. Ilieva says.

"While the policy window that opened at the height of the emergency allowed for some breakthrough policy innovations, now it is vital to build partnerships and policies that can ensure that the notion of food as a is institutionalized through sustained resource allocations and policies at the , state, tribal and federal levels in the decades to come."

The work is published in the journal Cities.

More information: Rositsa T. Ilieva et al, From multiple streams to a torrent: A case study of food policymaking and innovations in New York during the COVID-19 emergency, Cities (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2023.104222

Citation: Study takes stock of pandemic food policy in New York (2023, March 31) retrieved 16 June 2024 from
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