What do we know about our food?
That should be an easy question. Yet until now, information about where The City of New York’s $500m yearly food expenditures go, where our food comes from and how it is produced have been hard to measure. Working across different agencies who purchase food, with thousands of vendors and a complex bidding process, understanding where our food comes from and how it impacts us is more challenging than it should be.
This, our first-ever Citywide Goals & Strategy for the Implementation of Good Food Purchasing, is the new baseline. Today we establish a transparent, clear foundation for tracking The City of New York’s food purchasing: who supplies our food, what we serve and to whom, and how we are performing against (5) key values each tied to clear data and metrics: nutrition, support for local economies, a valued food production and delivery workforce, environmental sustainability and animal welfare.
We are committed to helping New Yorkers understand more about their food, and to a procurement strategy that inspires new ways of thinking about our food and drives positive change across the local, regional and even global food system with the purchasing power of The City of New York.
This report is a first step, as we embark on the complex and often challenging process of building the infrastructure to track the impact of our food purchasing. This means building data systems and processes to ensure we are getting the information we need, and then becoming radically transparent in sharing this information with all stakeholders. Progress in the implementation of GFP depends not only on the actions of the City of New York, but also on changes across the entire food system. The City’s 10 Year Food Policy Strategy, FoodForward NYC, outlines the way the City will advocate on the state and federal level and partner on the regional level to help bring along the system change necessary to increase the pipeline of good food. While we are making great progress, not every metric, every vendor or every meal will reflect what we hope to achieve over time. By assessing progress and tracking key metrics over time, we can hold ourselves to higher standards, and provide transparency about how we’re reaching for success. What follows is an overview of our performance to date; key data; an overview of our goals and relationship to the “Good Food Purchasing” framework and our action plans for continued progress.
Institutional food purchasing is an enormous lever for change and a critical tool for equity. Together, we can deliver higher-quality food and make progress on climate, animal welfare, workers’ rights and supporting minority and women owned businesses. We value your partnership and feedback as we strive to feed New Yorkers and bring a dynamic new value system to The City of New York’s procurement of food and ultimately meals for our residents.
Kate MacKenzie, MS RD
Executive Director, Mayor's Office of Food Policy