An Investigation of Food System Localization Efforts in New York Municipalities
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
November 23, 2021
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that satisfies their dietary needs and food preferences.
The link between food and health is clear. Nutritious food can act as medicine, helping to prevent and manage disease. But too much food, too little food, food that is not nutritious, or food that is not culturally appropriate can have serious health consequences. NYSHealth’s Healthy Food, Healthy Lives priority area works at the intersection of health and food to improve access to healthy and affordable foods, reduce food insecurity, and promote equity. To help leverage new and existing opportunities that promote promising policies and scale best practices, NYSHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Advancing Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives.” Through this RFP, NYSHealth is supporting organizations across New York State working to improve food and nutrition quality; increase access to healthy and affordable food; and grow participation in food benefit and nutrition incentive programs. In 2021, NYSHealth awarded the Research Foundation for the State University of New York a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY) will conduct research on food system localization efforts in New York municipalities and identify actionable steps to support vibrant food systems. SUNY will fill a research gap by investigating the degree to which New York State municipalities have addressed local food system challenges; what guidance has helped communities transition to more localized, sustainable food systems; and the policy leverage points that are most effective. This research project will address topics such as: whether municipal governments are currently employing food policies that are effective and deliberative; whether these policies reflect a long-term commitment to food systems that are affordable, equitable, and locally-based; which policies and practices result in a successful transition to a more localized food system; and how State and federal food policies can better serve local municipalities. SUNY will identify best practices and broadly disseminate research results to spur sustained and robust change in local food systems.