Ashley Rafalow, Director of Operations and Communications at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute appeared on CUNY TV’s Independent Sources to discuss the recent expansion of universal free school lunch to all New York City public schools. Ashley discussed the benefits of the program, the stigma too-long associated with eating school meals, and the opportunities presented now that lunch can be integrated into the school day, with resources dedicated to improving quality and student experience rather than collecting paperwork or money from parents. You can watch the episode here and below.

On September 6, Carmen Fariña, the New York City School Chancellor announced that lunch at New York City public schools will be available free of charge to all 1.1 million students beginning this school year. Three quarters of New York City schoolchildren had already qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. The new initiative reaches another 200,000 children, saving their families about $300 a year per child. According to Jan Poppendieck, Senior Fellow, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, and author, Free For All: Fixing School Food in America, “The decision to offer lunch free of charge to all students is a big win for all New York City students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and tax payers. The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute applauds the Mayor, the City Council, the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services, and all of the advocates in the Lunch For Learning Campaign who have worked so hard to bring us to this day”.

“Many of the parents, teachers, students, school administrators, and tax payers who will be affected by this new policy are CUNY students. We want to get the word out that school lunch is now free, regardless of income, immigration status, or any other factor, for all students in New York City public schools,” said Ashley.

Learn more:

Poppendieck J. Free Lunch for All in New York City. CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute website. September 11, 2017.

NYC SchoolFood’s website