Strengthening Community and Regional Food Systems

The food system is global yet grounded in the places where food is grown, processed, distributed, and eaten. Understanding how neighborhood food environments, urban food systems, and regional foodsheds interact is key to ensuring equitable access to healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food, as is fostering food sovereignty to enable communities to determine the future of their food systems.

The Institute partners with communities to improve access to healthy food, increase food security, and enable democratic participation in equity-focused city and regional food planning.


In collaboration with researchers from Teachers College and Hunter College, the Institute has analyzed the disparate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York City, developing policy recommendations to address rising food insecurity and widening health disparities. In March 2022 we released NY Food 2025: Policy Recommendations for a Stronger, Healthier, More Just, and Sustainable Food System in NYC.


  • Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food Education & Policy
  • Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center

For the past five years, the Institute has been researching and providing evidence for the development of an equity-focused long-range food plan for New York City. Many of our recommendations have been incorporated in a New York City Council food policy strategy and Food Forward NYC, the city’s 10-year food plan.


  • Mayor’s Office of Food Policy
  • City of New York

Through its research, the Institute has demonstrated how to analyze big data and use novel analytical methods to examine the effects of gentrification on food retail, food shopping patterns, and food insecurity and SNAP enrollment at the neighborhood scale, methods advocates and food planners can use to improve neighborhood food environments. Data on food insecurity are being visualized in a prototype food environment equity dashboard, a novel data platform for advocates, service providers and city officials to track and combat food insecurity.


  • Hunger Free America
  • West Side Campaign Against Hunger
  • GrowNYC
  • Community Food Advocates
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Food Policy
  • New York City Council
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
  • CUNY Institute for State and Local Government

At Farragut Houses, a NYC public housing development, the Institute worked with residents to co-design and evaluate a food buying club that facilitated online shopping as a supplement to conventional brick and mortar supermarkets. The Institute is currently working with a non-profit organization in Mississippi to evaluate a system to make online grocery shopping accessible to low-income rural residents.


  • Farragut Food Club
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Brooklyn Community Services
  • Karen Karp & Partners

The Institute is working with regional partners in the East End of Long Island and the Hudson Valley to identify and support equitable and resilient food policies and programs.


  • The East End Food Institute
  • Hudson Valley Food Systems Coalition