New York City Food Policy Watch
March 2014
New York City Food Policy Watch is the monthly e-newsletter of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College. We keep an eye on food policy in New York City and on urban food policy around the nation and the world. We also provide updates on our own policy analyses and research activities and on the food policy activities of City University of New York faculty, students and staff. To subscribe to our newsletter click here >>>

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The Advocate: 

Interview with Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit
An ongoing series of interviews with food policy advocates

FPW: What are some of the key problems with our food system?

Michele Simon: There are a number of things:

  1. Our health: We eat a diet that is based too much on animal products and processed junk food and not enough on eating the way nature intended: whole foods, mostly from plants. Every major health organization recommends eating more plant-based foods.
  2. The environment: Our animal-centered diet, along with the chemicals used in conventional agriculture, is killing the planet and polluting communities.
  3. Labor: Food workers (of all kinds, from farm pickers, to meat processors, to factory workers, to restaurant staff) are the most exploited workers out there.
  4. Animals: I can't even begin to describe the horrible conditions of factory farms.
  5. Family farmers: Small and medium farms are almost extinct due to concentration and takeover by Big Agribusiness, which has forced family farmers either to become beholden to large companies (losing their independence) or to quit altogether.

There are books written about each of these topics and others. It's just a mess!


Lethal but Legal:  
Ten Corporate Business and Political Practices that Harm Health

In a global economy that focuses relentlessly on profit, enhancing the bottom line of a few hundred corporations and the income of their investors has become more important than realizing the potential for good health that the world's growing wealth and the advances in science, technology, and medicine have enabled. This tension between private accumulation and public well-being is not new. But in the twenty-first century, it has come to shape our economy and politics in ways that profoundly threaten democracy, human well-being, and the environment that supports life. Paradoxically, the increasing concentration of power in the small number of the world's multinational corporations also presents new opportunities to create another healthier and more just future.  

Ten Community Strategies to Combat Lethal but Legal Products 

How can communities and community groups bring an end to food, alcohol, tobacco and other corporations' harmful practices?  


Lecture Series
University of California, Berkeley's Edible Education 103: Telling Stories about Food and Agriculture

We ran across this and thought we would share.... 

As the costs of our industrialized food system to the environment, public health, farmers and food workers, and to our social life become impossible to ignore, a national debate over the future of food and farming has begun. Telling stories about where food comes from, how it is produced and how it might be produced differently plays a critical role in bringing attention to the issue and shifting politics. Each week, a prominent figure in the debate explores: What can be done to make the food system healthier, more equitable, more sustainable? What is the role of storytelling in the process?

Lecturers include famed foodies Alice Waters, Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson (The Kitchen Sisters), Jerome Waag, Charlie Hallowell, Samin Nosrat, Harold McGee and Raj Patel

If you come across a food website that you would like to share with us, send us the details at
School Food Matters 

On February 25, the White House's Let's Move campaign announced new rules for competitive foods-foods sold in schools in competition with the  official school lunch or breakfast, and announced the roll out of the "Community Eligibility Provision" [CEP] of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.  Widely known as CEO (for Community Eligibility Option, the name by which it was initially designated)  CEP  will now be available to provide  universally free school meals  to an additional 22,000 schools enrolling 9 million children.  Here is how it works


Current Food Policy News 


"Extreme poverty and gender inequality are two of the most daunting challenges faced by the developing world. To tackle these challenges, many policymakers are turning to public works programs. Such programs can help governments provide stable, balanced wages to households in need, while at the same time investing in important infrastructure, like roads and irrigation systems, that can promote economic development in the future."

Read more here>>>     


"The results of the study showed that the people with the highest levels of exposure to fast food restaurants consumed an average of 5.7 more grams of fast food per day and were twice as likely to be obese, when compared with the participants who were least exposed to fast food restaurants. Researchers also found that the study participants were exposed to almost 50 percent more fast food restaurants at work than they were at home. "

Read more here>>> 


"...some states are finding a way to avoid the cuts.New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are triggering extra nutrition spending by adding money to a home-heating subsidy tied to increased food-stamp aid. The move feeds needy families while thwarting spending-reduction goals."


Website to train communities in food systems planning  

Communities looking to broaden access to healthy food and sustain local farms and food production have a new resource:, a repository of information on food systems planning.The site is run by Growing Food Connections, an initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, and will grow to include such resources as a Community Guide to Planning for Food and Agriculture.

Read more here>>>

Food Policy Center News 

On behalf of the NYC Food Policy Center, we'd like to extend our condolences to all who lost loved ones in the East Harlem building explosion on March 12th. The Hunter community was touched personally by this tragedy as well, with the loss of Sgt. Griselde Camacho, a well-respected security officer at our school.

Earlier this month, in partnership with the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College entitled, the NYC Food Policy Center co-hosted, "
Transforming Food Policy: Can New York City Become a Model for Smart, Fair Municipal Food Policy for the Nation?"  At this session of Roosevelt House's  Changing New York series, four experts who are at the frontlines of changing food policy in New York considered what we have learned from Bloomberg-era food policy initiatives, the likely food policy priorities of the current city government, and what New York can learn from other cities


About The New York City  

Food Policy Center at Hunter College


The New York City Food Policy Center develops intersectoral, innovative and effective solutions to preventing diet-related diseases and promoting food security in New York and other cities.

The Center works with policy makers, community organizations, advocates and the public to create healthier, more sustainable food environments and to use food to promote community and economic development. Through interdisciplinary research, policy analysis, evaluation and education, we leverage the expertise and passion of the students, faculty and staff of Hunter College and the CUNY School of Public Health and other CUNY campuses. The Center aims to make New York a model for smart, fair food policy.  

Center staff include Hunter faculty, staff and students:

  • Nicholas Freudenberg, Co-Director and Distinguished Professor of Public Health
  • Jan Poppendieck, Co-Director and Professor Emerita, Sociology
  • Charles Platkin, Editor, Food Policy Watch, Distinguished Lecturer Public Health and Nutrition  
  • May May Leung, Assistant Professor, Nutrition
  • Diana Johnson, Director of Community Projects 
  • Michele Silver, Research Associate and DPH candidate 
  • Ashley Rafalow, Operations and Communications Coordinator and MPH candidate 
In This Issue
Michele Simon
Political Practices that Harm
Community Strategies
Lecture Series.
School Food Matters
Food Policy News
Food Policy Brief
Spring 2014 Food Policy for Breakfast 
Seminar Series 

Growing the Public Food Sector in New York City   


In this seminar we'll consider the role of government in the food market and explore strategies for strengthening the pubic food sector in New York City



Date: April 1, 2014  

Time: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Location: The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47---49 East 65th Street between Madison and Park


RSVP Here >>>



Debbie Field, Executive Director, Food Share

Babette Audant, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Additional Panelists TBA

Consumption and Protecting Public Health

Date: April 8, 2014  

Time: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 

Location: The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47---49 East 65th Street between Madison and Park


Join us for a conversation on Corporations, Consumption and Protecting Public Health at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.

Nicholas Freudenberg, NYC Food Policy Center Co-Director and Distinguished Professor of Public Health, CUNY, author of the new book Lethal But Legal Corporations, Consumption and Protecting Public Health, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Dr. Thomas Farley, former Commissioner of Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the 2014 Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Roosevelt House.

Nancy Romer, Co-Founder and Chair, Governance Board, Brooklyn Food Coalition

RSVP Here >>> 


Save the Date!
Upcoming Food Policy for Breakfast Seminars

April 29
May 20