IN THIS ISSUE: Feature Interview: Racial Equity and Institutional Food Procurement with Rebekah A. Williams and Jessica Gilbert-Overland / Policy Highlights / Research Highlights / Recording from our Urban Food Policy Forum on Racial Equity and Food Procurement / Opportunities


Greetings CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor readers and members of our food policy learning community!

In our interconnected world, the impact of our purchases reaches far beyond personal consumption. It is the institutional purchasing made by cities and other large entities that has the unique power to shape a fairer, sustainable, and more just society through their procurement practices. The widespread adoption of a values-based procurement approach is one way to achieve this goal. The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute has conducted a variety of research projects looking at the benefits of values-based procurement over the years. This work underscores our commitment to promoting sustainable, equitable, and nutritious food systems in urban environments and highlighting work happening in this area.

One of the more well-known frameworks for values-based procurement is the Good Food Purchasing Programs (GFPP). At its core, the GFPP broadens the focus of institutional buyers beyond typical considerations of cost and quality by concentrating on five essential values: local economies, animal welfare, nutrition, valued workforce, and environmental sustainability. By prioritizing these values, public institutions and organizations can usher in positive change at the intersection of food, economy, the environment, and social equity.

The greatest advantage of a values-based procurement approach like the GFPP lies in its ability to address the long-standing systemic issues that have plagued our food systems. For example, through the support of local economies, this approach can help improve regional agricultural communities and lessens dependence on distant supply chains. Or, by promoting animal welfare and sustainable farming practices, it advocates for the humane treatment of animals and fosters environmentally responsible agricultural methods. In these ways, a values-based approach provides a comprehensive framework for tackling the interconnected challenges of our food system. Moreover, a values-based procurement approach reaps tangible benefits for public institutions and organizations. By aligning their practices with community values, these entities enhance their public image, strengthen relationships with local stakeholders, and foster greater community engagement.

In this month’s newsletter, we shine a light on the commendable work of the Good Food Buffalo Coalition (GFBC). Comprising more than 20 member organizations the GFBC is dedicated to bringing the Good Food Purchasing Program to public institutions in Western New York. The GFBC’s efforts are fueled by their unwavering commitment to racial justice, community engagement, and sustainable food systems. By emphasizing racial justice, elevating the role of Black farmers, and promoting values-based procurement to safeguard the well-being of Buffalo students, the GFBC demonstrates their dedication to inclusive decision-making processes that prioritize the voices and concerns of those most affected by racial injustice in the food system.

With the recent reintroduction and passage by the New York State Senate of the Good Food NY Bill (S.6955/A.7264) in the state legislature we may be moving towards an era where it’s easier for institutional purchasers to embrace the power of values-based procurement, paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for all.

Guest Editor of this Issue: Craig Willingham, Managing Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

Production Coordinator: Rositsa T. Ilieva, Director of Policy, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

Digital Content Specialist: Liv Collins, Communications Assistant, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute