Major Strides Toward Passage of Good Food NY Bill Made This Session

The following statement was developed by Ribka Getachew, Taylor Pate, Jess Gilbert-Overland, and Susanne Donovan on behalf of the New York State Good Food Purchasing Coalition

We know what the Good Food NY Bill means to communities across New York State. We know the stakes and the potential this bill holds. We also know the millions spent each year on food purchasing in our schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, and public institutions across the state will be a powerful investment in the food future we see for New York and for the food system we need.

As this year’s New York State legislative session comes to a close, we are heartened to see how many allies have come to the table on behalf of the Good Food NY Bill. Among them are farmers with deep networks in the agriculture community (including local Farm Bureau chapters and BIPOC producers); hospitals and administrators in public health settings; leaders in public institutions across the state; allies with expertise in procurement, sustainability, small manufacturing, local economic development, and animal welfare; labor champions; and many more. Together, we have built a coalition of over 70 organizations with immense knowledge, practical experience, and a commitment to securing the foundation for a food economy that reflects our values. The momentum in these last weeks is a testament to the organizing and relationships that this coalition has built. 

We are also heartened by the success that we had this year! The overwhelming bi-partisan support that led to this passing 56-2 in the Senate and the progress that we made to get through committee in the Assembly speaks to how important this bill is. While we are still waiting for our moment to celebrate the official passage of the bill, we are taking stock of all we have accomplished this year. To lean into our food and agriculture language—the ‘cover crops’ seeded through our collective efforts this year will build the soil for our future growth as we head into next season’s session. We trust in the process as any seasoned farmer does—we’re in this for the long haul!

This session has also seen a swell of new champions in Albany, with the overwhelming bipartisan passage of the bill in the Senate and strong progress in the Assembly. We’re grateful for the continued leadership of Good Food NY Bill prime sponsors—Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and Senators Michelle Hinchey and Liz Krueger—along with 20 co-sponsors (and counting) from both chambers. We applaud shared agendas emerging with new allies this session as well, including members of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Caucus and Senator Jeremy Cooney, who has been a strong voice for the bill in committee along with support from Fred Thiele on the Assembly side.

The NYS Good Food Purchasing Coalition is eager to work together in the coming months to move the bill forward at the top of the 2024 legislative session. With the help of allies and stakeholders, we’ve identified ways the bill can be further strengthened to be most successful in implementation and secure the intended benefits for New York farmers, small manufacturers, food workers, farm animals, our environment, and local economies across the state. This process has also made clear the urgency of lifting procurement barriers to ensure values-based purchasing becomes a reality. We are confident that we can build on this momentum with Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes’ office heading into the next session to pass the Good Food NY Bill and ensure implementation will benefit our communities and strengthen supply chains across NY. 

For all those who have made calls, sent emails, attended forums, and joined working groups—we are so thankful for your commitment to this vision. We look forward to taking these gains forward together into the months ahead. We look forward to celebrating the bill’s passage in the near future, and until then—if you’d like to join our growing coalition, we welcome your skills and input!

Photo by Chantal Garnier on Unsplash