Food Policy Standards

Food Policy Standards

With the passage of Local Law 50 of 2011 (LL50), City agencies have helped provide New Yorkers with fresh, healthy, and delicious food produced locally in New York State (NYS). The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, in consultation with the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, promulgated guidelines for City agencies to increase procurement of food from NYS growers and producers. LL50 includes an annual report of direct and indirect local food purchases by the City. Due to the unprecedented and ongoing disruption of COVID-19, gathering data for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) was even more challenging. We offer FY20 data below.


City agencies purchase food directly and indirectly from food vendors. Most direct food purchases are made by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) on behalf of City agencies. Sourcing local food from NYS growers is a priority and there are contracting mechanisms that support locally grown food. In FY20, DCAS issued $100 million of procurements to purchase food that included price preferences for NYS food. Vendors who responded to the FY20 LL50 food sourcing survey had $256,585 worth of DCAS food-related contracts, of which 21.1%, or $54,250, was spent on NYS sources.

City agencies indirectly procure food through contracts with vendors to deliver services. The NYS food procurement guidelines extend to contracts that have $100,000 or more in spending related to food. The City agency portfolio includes 143 of such contracts, totaling roughly $185 million in food spending in FY20. Vendors who responded to the FY20 LL50 food sourcing survey had $16.7 million worth of City agency food-related contracts, of which 35%, or $5.8 million, was spent on NYS sources.

Local Law 50 Report

To account for direct and indirect food purchases, LL50 requires agencies to distribute an optional annual food sourcing survey to applicable contract vendors. The food sourcing survey gathers data about the type, pricing, and volume of food purchased during the fiscal year. The LL50 report summarizes the total volume of food reported by respondents as purchased during FY20 from NYS sources. This year’s data is provided below. While COVID-19 created particular challenges to collecting data for FY20, the survey itself is historically difficult for vendors to complete, especially nonprofit providers who are the majority of indirect food purchasers. The breadth of questions and data collection is vast, and providers do not typically track this data on an ongoing basis. MOCS will continue its collaboration with vendors and the Office of Food Policy to consider opportunities to revise this data collection exercise and to streamline the preparation of the final report.

New York State Food Purchasing Guidelines

Local Law 50 of 2011 required MOCS to establish guidelines for City agencies that assist in increasing the purchase of New York State food through food purchase and food-related services contracts. City agencies use the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) list of food items available from New York State sources.
Download the New York State Food Purchasing Guidelines
Download the New York State Foods Reference List

Local Law 50 of 2011 also requires the CCPO to report on the efforts during the preceding fiscal year to implement the city guidelines for the purchase of New York state food.
Download the Fiscal 2016 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2017 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2018 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2019 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2020 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2021 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2022 Local Law 50 Report
Download the Fiscal 2023 Local Law 50 Report

Vendor Resources For Nonprofits with City Contracts

To help its nonprofit human service partners leverage their purchasing power, and reduce administrative costs, the City has established a Group Purchasing partnership with Essensa.

More information on Group Purchasing.

Greenmarket Co.

Greenmarket Co., GrowNYC's new Long Island City based wholesale local food distribution hub, brings farm grown produce at good prices to New York City neighborhoods. Greenmarket Co. delivers local produce to bodegas, grocery stores, caterers, restaurants, institutional buyers and more, as well as brokering deals between purchasers and regional farmers. The hub also serves as a central distribution point to move wholesale produce to GrowNYC's food access initiatives including Youth market farm stands, YUM Food Box, healthy school fundraisers along with sourcing for city and other projects such as DOE's Garden to Café program and more.
Learn more about GrowNYC

GrowNYC's Wholesale Greenmarket

The Wholesale Greenmarket facilitates sales between wholesale buyers such as small grocers, institutions, restaurants, and distributors and small- and medium-sized growers from New York and adjacent states.
Learn more about Greenmarket.

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets can often accommodate agencies who have services or contractors purchasing in small amounts.
List of farmers markets

Farmers Web

Farmers Web is an online marketplace connecting local farms with wholesale buyers. Farms post and maintain their current availability along with delivery settings. Buyers can browse by item or farm and shop directly online. On Farmers Web, buyers can learn about the farms, growing methods used, and where the products are coming from.
Learn more about Farmers Web

Pure Catskills

Pure Catskills is a buy local campaign aimed at supporting the local food community in the Catskills region. We work with hundreds of farm and food businesses throughout Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties in New York State. Access the searchable database of producers online or request a printed copy.
Learn more about Pure Catskills

Purchasers can connect to farmers through Food Hubs.
Learn more about Food Hubs

Agency Solicitations

Under New York State General Municipal Law (GML) §103, City agencies have a number of procurement tools to increase their options for purchasing New York State food products. For any direct purchase of food products covered by this option, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) would be the purchaser. For food-related services, such as catering or meal delivery services, other City agencies could be the purchasers. These tools include the following:

  • Price Preference for New York State Food
    City agencies may grant a "price preference" for New York State food, e.g., agencies may determine that it is appropriate to award a particular contract to a bidder offering New York State food products whose price falls within 10% of the lowest responsive, responsible bidder's price, where that low bidder does not offer New York State food products.

Contact DCAS for more information on New York State food price preferences.

  • The purchasing agency may also mandate that a particular product, e.g., apples, come from New York State, limiting competition to bidders that can supply such products rather than similar products sourced from other locations.
  • The purchasing agency may purchase the types of products included on the NYSDA list, using solicitations that seek bidders for multiple "classes" of goods. Using this procedure, bidders can be invited to submit offers to provide either a bundle of goods that includes New York State food products (e.g., with a requirement for 30% of the class as such New York State food products) and/or a bundle of goods with no sourcing restrictions. Upon reviewing the bids received, DCAS may then decide to award a contract to either the low bidder in the first "class," or the low bidder in the second "class."
  • In addition to the above-described bid solicitation terms that specifically prefer New York State food products, purchasing agencies may use the "best value" provisions of GML §103 to craft solicitations that consider the freshness and perishability of the food being purchased, such as the number of days from harvest to delivery.
  • For City agencies that procure human services contracts that include the provision of food products as part of their scope of work, the solicitations for those programs may incorporate requirements applicable to such provision of food products, along the lines described above. Service providers responding to such solicitations may be evaluated with regard to their experience, organizational capability and/or approach to ensuring the appropriate use of New York State food products in their programs.

Where a New York State sourcing requirement is a material term of the contract, agencies may require vendors to submit reports detailing the source of the food provided and/or require vendors to ensure that all cases of New York State food products are labeled as such.