NYC Food Policy Center September 2023 Food Flash

by Emily Solomon

A roundup of food policy topics

What’s Hot: Climate Week Recap

Last week New York City hosted a variety of Climate Week events. Climate week “is the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together some 400 events and activities across the City of New York – in person, hybrid and online.”

This climate week covered 3 main points:

  • Climate action has not been progressive. Where can investments be allocated and what interests should be held accountable to increase productivity?
  • How do we ensure that solutions to the climate crisis are implemented?
  • How do we continue to drive climate action fast?

One of the main events was the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony.The event was held on September 17th, and some of the speakers included Governor of California Gavin Newsom, CEO of the Climate Group Helen Clarkson, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Razan Al Mubarak. 

Helen Clarkson stated that, ““The responsibility rests squarely with all of us – there’s safety and power in numbers. It’s no longer a few visionaries – it’s all of us, and We Can. We Will.” 

During Climate Week NYC’s Innov-EAT Expedition,a panel discussion organized by Clim-Eat, Columbia Climate School, the Bezos Earth Fund, Bayer, and EAT explored the future of food and top tech innovations. Brent Loken of the World Wildlife Fund emphasized the importance of using the right innovation at the right time and place, advocating for a decision-making framework based on successful case studies. Shayna Fertig from the Good Food Institute focused on finding affordable and tasty plant-based meat alternatives, anticipating quicker price parity between plant-based and meat options. Mario Herrero of Cornell University highlighted the complexity of the food system, emphasizing the need for diverse innovations and policy support for food system transformation led by government, nonprofits, and private companies. The discussion concluded that, considering the interconnected nature of nutrition, the environment, and the urgency of transforming food systems, having an assortment of innovations is crucial. Additionally, Climate Week featured the debut documentary, “Abundance” by The Farmlink Project, which shows  how college students, amid a severe food crisis, initiated a local effort that rapidly became national, inspiring thousands to address hunger on a massive scale and raising questions about the sustainability of their impactful solution. The Farmlink Project was awarded The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2023 Campaign Award. We’re proud to raise awareness around Farmlink’s mission and solution-oriented mindset. Wasted food can pivot from a climate crisis to a climate solution. 

To see a full recap of Climate Week’s events and speakers please visit the Climate Week NYC site linked here

Food Policy Watchdog: NYC Failing to Process Food Stamp Applications on Time

Processing rates for NYC food stamp applications have fallen to under 30 percent according to the latest Mayor’s Management Report. Covid-19, which caused an increase in the number of people applying for benefits, has been cited as the main reason for the delay. 

This delay is a major concern for households throughout NYC who are facing eviction. In fact, Deborah Berkman, the supervising attorney with the Public Benefits Unit of New York Legal Assistance Group, stated that delays lead to evictions. 

It is unclear what the Human Resources Administration of the city is planning to do to speed up the processing of applications while also facing budget cuts implemented by Mayor Adams, it is expected that there will be no change any time soon.  

Quote of the Month: “We want women’s agency to be fully respected, and here, the guys are going to have to step up.… It’s important for policy—which is primarily set by men—to be designed with the women and girls who are affected at the table.” – Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Natalia spoked at the 78th annual United Nations General Assembly on Foreign Policy in NYC last week. The discussion covered “interconnected global issues, including the global energy transition, food security and sustainability, pandemic preparedness, universal health coverage, and the implications of digital transformation across the world.”

To view a full recording of the discussion please click here.

Fact Check: How Inflation will Impact this Halloween

This month, Power Reviews put out a Halloween Spending Trends report for 2023.They found  that 73 percent of consumers said that their shopping for Halloween will be impacted by economic challenges, while 34 percent stated that they will be buying cheaper candy to save on costs. 

To combat these issues, The Food Institute recommends that retailers optimize pricing strategies and affordability to appeal to consumers this October.

At the same time, Scott Lieberman, founder of, indicated that. “History tells us that, during times of economic hardship, candy sales still rise.”

Photo Attribution: Farmlink

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