Ten Years of Food Policy Governance in New York City: Lessons for the Next Decade

By Freudenberg, Nicholas; Cohen, Nevin et al. | Fordham Urban Law Journal, May 2018 | Go to article overview

Ten Years of Food Policy Governance in New York City: Lessons for the Next Decade


Freudenberg, Nicholas, Cohen, Nevin, Poppendieck, Janet, Willingham, Craig, Fordham Urban Law Journal


Introduction                                               952   I. Food Policy Governance Standards                      955  II.  Food Policy in New York City Since 2008              959        A. Food Standards and Food Policy Coordinator       969        B. Food Retail Expansion to Support Health           ("FRESH")                                        972        C. Changes in SNAP Enrollment and Outreach          975        D. Universal Free Lunch                             976        E. Portion Cap Limitation                           977 III. An Assessment of Food Policy Governance in      New York City                                         979        A. Promotes Equity                                  980        B. Encourages Accountability                        982        C. Ensures Sustainability                           985        D. Fosters Inclusion and Participation              986        E. Uses Data and Evidence to Inform Decisions       987        F. Advances Intersectoral Action                    988  IV. Recommendations                                       989        A. Develop a New York City Food Plan                990        B. Create a Central Interactive Repository of           City Food Data                                   991        C. Strengthen the Public Sector in Food             992        D. Create New Democracy and Governance Processes           to Expand Local Control of Our Food System       993 Conclusion                                                 994 

INTRODUCTION

In this century, cities around the world have embarked on ambitious efforts to modify food policies to improve health, reduce hunger and food insecurity, and to create more sustainable community development and environmental protection, while decreasing economic inequality. (1) In the last decade, New York City has played a leading role in charting the path of new urban food governance by creating dozens of new food policies and programs to improve nutritional well-being, promote food security, create food systems that support community and economic development, and encourage more sustainable food production, distribution, and consumption practices. (2) These initiatives built on the City's prior efforts to create healthier food environments (3) and used existing and new governance mechanisms to consider, enact, and implement changes in how New York City manages its food system.

Food policy means more than laws and regulations that govern food; it includes all public decisions affecting food. Thus, this Article uses the term "food policy" to refer to legislation, executive orders, rule changes, demonstration projects, program expansion or elimination, capital investments and budget allocations, grant programs, reporting requirements, certifications and enforcement, programs, and government agency rules and regulations. Together these decisions and their implementation constitute the food policy landscape in New York. Businesses and trade associations also shape food policy, both through their influence on government and through their own organizational practices such as marketing, retail distribution, pricing, and product design. (4) As this Article will demonstrate, businesses and civil society groups have played an important role in food policy governance in New York City.

As city governments around the world took on new responsibilities for food, municipalities also expanded their role in health, transportation, education, environmental protection, and housing. (5) Analyzing these experiences, scholars from several disciplines began exploring what distinguishes governance from the institution of government, and furthermore, what constitutes good urban governance. (6) In this discourse, government describes a more static structure while governance conveys the dynamic interactive processes that influence policy. (7) UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency for human settlements, asserts that "good urban governance" provides residents with "the platform which will allow them to use their talents to the full to improve their social and economic conditions. …

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