New York City Mayor Eric Adams Takes Executive Action To Promote Health Food From Harlem To Hollis

February 11, 2022

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed two executive orders signaling his administration’s commitment to procure, prepare, and serve healthy and nutritious food citywide. The orders — signed at the Mercy Center Bronx, an emergency food pantry — further underscore Mayor Adams’ commitment to food justice and to reducing diet-related health inequities and disease outcomes.

“If we want to encourage New Yorkers to be healthier, the city must set the tone,” said Mayor Adams. “The executive orders we are signing today build on the progress we have made to better align our policies with our public health priorities, and show that New York City continues to lead the nation on food policy that centers equity and justice.”

Executive Order 8, Commitment to Health and Nutrition: Food Standards and Good Food Purchasing repeals Executive Order 122 of 2008, which set forth standards for meals served by city agencies. It will task the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy with revising the City Agency Food Standards, which will be circulated to agency heads on April 1, 2022, and every three years after that.

The order also formalizes the city’s commitment to the Good Food Purchasing principles through transparency about how mayoral agencies’ procurements impact core values relating to local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition affecting the health of all New Yorkers.

Executive Order 9, Promotion of Healthy Foods in City Publications and Advertising on City Property requires that all promotional materials put out by agencies and advertisements on city property regarding food — to the extent practicable — feature healthy food.

Both orders build on the mayor’s bold food policy agenda, including the recent introduction of vegan options in all public schools and six new plant-based lifestyle medicine clinics in NYC Health + Hospital throughout the city.

Also announced at the event was the publication of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) new Food Distribution Program procurement, which will include fresh fruits and vegetables for the first time in the 30-year history of the program. Established in 1983, Emergency Food Assistance Program purchases and distributes food items to more than 600 food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs. As a part of the city’s response to the COVID-19 emergency, DSS also began to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables through a parallel program, known as Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution. This procurement will streamline these efforts to ensure the safe, consistent, and reliable supply of nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food to emergency food providers across the city, and direct public dollars to vendors that reflect the administration’s values of equity, public health, and minimizing environmental impact.

“Today’s executive orders are another important step in supporting children and families in their lifelong heath journey,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Aligning the city’s procurement and offering transparency in this area demonstrate that the city is committed to food system reform to put the city on a healthier, more sustainable path.”

Access to healthy, nutritious food in a dignified manner is essential for every New Yorker,

“Access to healthy, nutritious food in a dignified manner is essential for every New Yorker,” said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “Today’s executive orders are critical steps in creating a healthier, more equitable, and transparent food system. We have dedication and commitment in this administration to making this happen and are proud of this important moment.”

“Nutrition is one of the keys to a happy and prosperous life, and this administration is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to healthy, quality food,” said DSS Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “As the mayor has said, if we want to encourage New Yorkers to eat healthier, the city must lead by example, which is why we are excited to release our new Food Distribution Program RFP that will help us distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to nearly 600 food pantries and community organizations across the five boroughs via our Emergency Food Assistance Program.”

“Mayor Adams has been clear and steadfast in his stated commitment to reshaping our food systems to make them healthier and plant-forward for all New Yorkers, and especially those that bear the disproportionate burden of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, senior health advisor, and incoming commissioner, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “As a primary care doctor, I know that healthy, plant-forward diets are as important as the medications I prescribe for my patients with chronic illnesses. And as an epidemiologist, I know that heart disease continues to be the leading killer of New Yorkers, especially people of color, with diabetes not far behind. These executive orders and food assistance programs are crucial steps in the long-term work of making healthy food choices the standard, easy, and affordable choice for New Yorkers, and will save lives.”

“All New Yorkers deserve access to healthy and nutritious food that is good for both our bodies and our planet,” said Kate MacKenzie, executive director, Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “The mayor’s announcement today of these two executive orders and the new Emergency Food Assistance Program procurement that includes fresh produce for the first time in the program’s history makes it clear that New York is paving a food-forward path that is values-driven. I am grateful to the mayor for his leadership and excited to hit the ground running.”

“Every public health strategy we can use to improve nutrition will have an impact and improve wellbeing,” said Dr. Michelle Morse, chief medical officer, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and deputy commissioner, Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness. “New York City has led the nation with innovative policies to protect the public’s health and help people make more informed decisions about food. These executive orders will improve the food environment for New Yorkers and create more possibilities for healthy food options.”

“Our multi-sector Good Food Purchasing Program coalition is comprised of over 40 food system advocates that represent five value areas — animal welfare, environmental sustainability, labor, local economies, and nutrition,” said Ribka Getachew, director, New York Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) Campaign at Community Food Advocates. “We are incredibly excited to have a mayor that is a champion of the Good Food Purchasing as is reflected by Mayors Adams’ singing of Executive Order 8. This coalition has been advocating for a formal codification of GFPP since the inception of the Good Food Purchasing Program Campaign in 2016, so this is an especially historic day for food system advocates. We look forward to deepening our partnership with the administration to expand the reach of GFPP in New York City and ensure the long-term and sustainable success of the program. There is strength in our collective power so working with the Adams administration to maximize the city’s massive institutional purchasing power of half of a billion dollars will radically transform our local and regional food economies!”

“The best way to encourage healthy eating is to make the healthy choice the easy — and the preferred — choice,” said Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, Emerita. “Mayor Adams’ executive orders are a terrific step toward creating a food environment that makes it easier for New Yorkers to eat better and stay healthy.”

“Food Bank For New York City applauds Mayor Adams’ leadership and commitment to Good Food Purchasing values and standards to ensure preparation and delivery of healthy meals citywide,” said Leslie Gordon, president and CEO, Food Bank For New York City. “Leaning on our robust partnerships with schools, hospitals, senior centers, food pantries and soup kitchens in the five boroughs, Food Bank is eager to continue our work with the mayor to connect New Yorkers of all ages to culturally appropriate and quality nutritious food.”

“The city’s explicit and actual commitment to data transparency in food purchasing is a game-changing example of good government accountability in using their significant power of procurement for the public good,” said Paula Daniels, co-founder, Center for Good Food Purchasing, and member, Mayor Adams’ food transition team.

“The mayor’s commitment to the Good Food Purchasing Program is a win for New York City,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., president, and CEO of, New York State Health Foundation. “These executive orders will help ensure that New Yorkers have access to quality meals they need to thrive — in all the places our public agencies serve them. It will also strengthen demand for foods that are healthy, sustainable, and local.”

“We applaud Mayor Adams signing two executive orders in procuring, preparing, and serving healthy and nutritious food through city agencies,” said Charmaine Ruddock, project director, Bronx Health REACH. “The Bronx experiences some of the greatest food inequities and social injustices in the city and the state, reflected by the borough’s longstanding poor health outcomes. Codifying the Good Food Purchasing Program, which expands the city’s food standards commitment is an encouraging step in helping to improve the health of Bronx residents and moving the Bronx from being the unhealthiest county.”

“The fresh fruits and vegetables we receive from the city on a daily basis are a game-changer to us emergency food providers and, moreover, to the thousands of families who are able to serve their children this beautiful produce,” said Alexander Rapaport, executive director, Masbia Soup Kitchen Network. “Week by week, it is changing people’s food habits. I am so excited that the mayor is solidifying healthy food behaviors and making it trendy by changing the way New York City — one of the nation’s largest food procurers — buys food. When done at such a large scale, the outcome should be very promising and felt very soon.”

“Today, Mayor Eric Adams is taking significant steps toward ensuring every New Yorker has regular access to fresh, healthy food and that New York City is regularly evaluating its nutrition standards,” said Rachel Sabella, director, No Kid Hungry New York. “For hundreds of thousands of kids, the most reliable and nutritious meals they get each day are the meals they eat at school and steps like this, which make school meals healthier, will have a long-lasting impact on student well-being. When kids are nourished, they’re healthier, they do better in school and they’re better able to reach their full potential.”

“United Way of New York City applauds these executive orders as a critical step in ensuring equitable access to healthy food in our city,” said Amy Sananman, senior vice president, chief impact and strategy officer, United Way of New York City. “We believe all New Yorkers, including those served by New York City agencies and public programs, must have dignified access to culturally appropriate, nutritious, healthy food that adheres to dietary restrictions and preferences, and we are committed to working alongside the administration and partners to continue to advance this vision together.”

“Expanding the choice and availability of fresh, healthy food within the Emergency Feeding Assistance Program new RFP is a huge win for organizations like the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and all the vulnerable communities we and other emergency food providers serve across New York City,” said Greg Silverman, chief executive officer/executive director, West Side Campaign Against Hunger. “Three cheers for the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, HRA, and our new mayor for making this happen.”

“Met Council commends Mayor Eric Adams’ leadership and commitment to providing New Yorkers with access to healthy, nutritious food,” said David G. Greenfield, CEO, Met Council on Jewish Poverty. “Our city must work to ensure no New Yorker goes without healthy food options and these executive orders are a significant step in the right direction. Met Council and food providers across this city have a passionate ally and advocate in Mayor Adams and his administration. Access to healthy food is a vital aspect of our work and the work that must be done to end hunger in New York City. We look forward to working side-by-side with the Adams administration to create a better, healthier future for all New Yorkers.”

“Every New Yorker deserves to have access to fresh, nutritious food,” said Jilly Stephens, CEO, City Harvest. “We applaud Mayor Adams for his bold commitment to healthy eating in our city. With food insecurity still much higher than pre-pandemic levels, we need every part of city government and the private sector working together. Today’s announcement is a strong step towards finally ending food insecurity in New York.”

“Bravo to Mayor Eric Adams for being a champion for purchasing and promoting healthy, nutritious, sustainable, and just foods and committing to Good Food Purchasing values,” said Pamela Koch, associate professor, Teachers College, Columbia University. “When all New Yorkers eat well each and every day, this is the cornerstone to improve public health, care for our planet’s ecosystem, and eliminate inequities.”

“UJA-Federation of New York thanks Mayor Adams for his commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food — and for acknowledging the important role that nutrition plays in public health,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York. “The mayor’s two new executive orders, as well as streamlining of the Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution and Emergency Food Assistance programs, will ensure that food pantry systems like ours across New York are able to provide families with access to the food and support they need to live healthy lives.”

“The city’s explicit and actual commitment to data transparency in food purchasing is a game-changing example of good government accountability in using their significant power of procurement for the public good,” said Paula Daniels, co-founder, Center for Good Food Purchasing, and a member, mayor’s food transition team.

“Harnessing the purchasing power of government is a critical tool to not only increase the availability of healthier food but also to spur the development of a more climate-friendly and equitable food system,” said Mark A. Izeman, New York regional director, Natural Resources Defense Council. “Mayor Adams is off to a fast start in the all-important work of providing healthier, more sustainable food for New Yorkers who consume hundreds of millions of city-served meals every year. We look forward to working with the mayor and his team to develop a nation-leading approach to purchasing food that is better for our residents and the planet.”

“The procurement power of v agencies is strong within our local food systems. Efforts to increase the standards and transparency of equitable and value-based procurement of regionally grown and harvested food — including fruit, vegetables, and grains — will have a demonstrative impact on food justice and health equity for all New Yorkers,” said Qiana Mickie, founding principal, QJM Multiprise. “I applaud Mayor Adams’ commitment to integrating Good Food Purchasing principles within our city’s procurement. Increasing the multiplier effort of our local food economy will not only strengthen our regional supply chain, but also create a healthier New York for years to come.”

“The James Beard Foundation is supportive of Mayor Eric Adams’s executive orders to codify the Good Food Purchasing Program and to require the promotion of nutritious foods in city materials and among city agencies,” said Alexina Cather, director of policy advocacy and sustainability, James Beard Foundation.“His commitment to make New York City a leader in procurement by implementing the Good Food Purchasing Program is critical to human and environmental health. The program’s core values align closely with the James Beard Foundation’s work to increase equity, transparency, health, and sustainability throughout the food system. We look forward to engaging in future conversations about policies that increase equity, sustainability, and transparency.”

“On behalf of the New York City’s Nutrition Education Network, we would like to offer our support for the mayor’s executive orders to implement Good Food Purchasing principles and the promotion of healthy foods in city publications and agencies,” Tutu Badaru, chair, New York City’s Nutrition Education Network (NYCNEN). “NYCNEN is committed to the improvement of the food and nutrition environment for a healthier New York City. These two executive orders will support further investment in our regional food system as well as increase access to fresh and healthy foods for our neighbors. In addition, the Good Food Purchasing principles take into account important issues of food justice and sustainability, which have historically been excluded from the conversation on food access. We believe that both orders will continue to break down the barriers to good food for every New Yorker.”

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