Ending Hunger and Food Insecurity

Hunger and food insecurity undermine physical and mental health and interfere with work and school for more than a million residents of New York City, and an estimated 800 million people around the world. Pandemics, the climate emergency, and rising economic inequality are increasing food insecurity.

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute analyzes policies that contribute to hunger and food insecurity, implements and evaluates campaigns to link vulnerable populations to reliable and sustainable sources of food, and provides technical assistance and evaluation to organizations seeking to end food insecurity.


This project aims to integrate CUNY’s pre-COVID and current approaches to reducing food insecurity, bring them to scale, and assess their impact on the well-being and academic success of CUNY students. It also develops a model for eliminating food insecurity that can be replicated or tailored for use in other large urban universities serving low income populations.


  • Hunger Free America
  • Swipeout Hunger
  • CUNY Office of Student Affairs

This project explores how existing and new Covid-19-related programs contribute to achieving goals such as reducing food insecurity, ensuring access to healthy affordable food, restoring the local and regional food economy, and protecting food workers. The findings from this effort enables public officials to better prepare the food system to solve its current problems and respond to future crises.


  • Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center
  • The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food
Our work in this area assesses changes in eligibility and enrollment criteria, increased funding for benefits, expanded outreach and education, and the use of new technologies such as EBT and online enrollment for SNAP and WIC. This research is intended to identify best practices and innovative strategies from around the nation used to overcome administrative and other obstacles to enrollment in federal food benefits.


  • Hunger Free America

This project explores how communities can improve diffusion and adoption of online retail food shopping innovations, while building their own power as consumers, by developing new institutions that help to expand market choice. Residents of Farragut Houses, a New York City public housing development, co-created with the Institute an alternative food buying system using online grocers, and implemented a pilot test of this alternative.


  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • New York City Housing Authority

Our work in this area brings together immigrants’ rights and food security advocates, social service providers, researchers on immigration and on food security, policy makers and public officials to develop and advocate feasible strategies for improving immigrant access to food benefits in New York City.


  • Make the Road New York
  • YMCA of Queens
  • Center for Immigrant Health