We are pleased to announce the release of our newest report, JOBS FOR A HEALTHIER DIET AND A STRONGER ECONOMY: Opportunities for Creating New Good Food Jobs in New York City (Available here)
This new report calls for the next Mayor of New York City to bring together city agencies, employers, labor unions, workforce development programs and others to create 10,000 new good food jobs in New York City by 2020. The report, by the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College and the City University of New York School of Public Health, defines “good food jobs” as jobs that make healthier food more accessible to all New Yorkers, pay a living wage, offer safe working conditions, and promote sustainable economic development.
The report describes 11 New York City programs that are working to create good food jobs and analyzes models from other cities and states. These programs demonstrate that it is possible to improve pay and working conditions for food workers who can in turn make healthy food more available and affordable. As yet, however, most do not operate at a scale where they can fully realize their potential for economic development and improved nutritional health.
New York City’s food sector employs 326,000 workers and had a growth rate of 33% in the last decade. Several public and private funding streams support workforce development in food services. As a sector that provides many entry-level opportunities for low- and moderate-skilled workers, it is an important target for new job creation. Those seeking food sector jobs include many of those hard hit by the 2008 recession: workers with limited education, recent immigrants, and entrepreneurs with high ambitions but little capital. To date, though, many of the jobs in this sector are low-paying, lack benefits, and expose workers to unsafe conditions. Many of these jobs also involve the production of the food most associated with obesity and diet-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, two leading causes of premature deaths and heath care costs in New York City.
To make progress towards reaching the goal of 10,000 new jobs by 2020, the report identifies six strategies that could each produce at least 1,000 jobs. The report also calls on city government and employers to build an infrastructure to sustain and expand the number of good food jobs. The report and its executive summary are available here.
For more information, to subscribe to the Center’s e-newsletter, or to receive an invitation to the Center’s Fall Forum on Good Food Jobs, contact [email protected]. For questions or comments on the report, contact Nicholas Freudenberg at [email protected]