The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, in collaboration with Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center and Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Columbia University have joined forces to monitor and assess New York City’s food system response to COVID-19 to date and over the next 18 months. Our organizations collaborated to produce the first independent assessment of the effects of COVID-19 on the city’s food system and an assessment of the many public and private responses.

In this first report of NY Food 20/20, the Centers examine the effects of the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences on New York’s food system and the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers. The report also discusses the creation and early implementation of some of the City’s responses to COVID-19 related food system changes and offers concrete actions that public officials and agencies, civil society groups and others can take.  These recommendations focus on how to minimize the harms and maximize the opportunities to address the underlying problems the pandemic has exacerbated.

The report recommends possible steps the City can take to minimize the inequitable distribution of burdens of the pandemic by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. Finally, it suggests strategies to enable New York City’s food system to respond to a possible resurgence of the epidemic in the future or to utilize new opportunities to open and rebuild the City.

The full text of the report is available at the link above. A recent op-ed in the Daily News summarizes the key take away messages.


The following individuals, listed in alphabetical order, helped prepare this report: Alexina Cather, MPH; Yvonne Chow, MFA; Nevin Cohen, PhD, MCRP; Elizabeth Eilender, MS, RD; Ann Ebrecht, PhD; Katherine Tomaino Fraser, MSPH, RD; Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH; Melissa Gallanter, RD; Rositsa Ilieva, PhD; Pamela Koch, EdD, RD; May May Leung, PhD, RDN; Julia McCarthy, JD; Yvette Ng, MS MBA; Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH; Sarah Shapiro; Raynika Trent, MS, EdM; and Craig Willingham, MPH.

Thank you to our funders

(in alphabetical order)

Community Food Funders, North Star Fund (and for all their coordination) Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund Lily Auchincloss Foundation Merck Family Fund New York State Health Foundation Shachar Foundation The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation

Suggested Citation

New York Food 20/20: Vision, Research, and Recommendations During COVID-19 and Beyond. The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, and The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. September, 2020.