NYS Legislature Passes Bill Advancing Values-Based Food Procurement

On Thursday, June 6,  the New York State Assembly passed the Good Food NY Bill following a press conference held the same day by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and members of the NY Good Food Purchasing Program Coalition. The NYS Senate also recently passed the bill (S.6955A) on Monday, under the leadership of prime Senate sponsor Senator Michelle Hinchey. Now, legislators, advocates, community organizations, and local farmers are calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the newly passed bill into law.

The Good Food NY Bill (S.6955A / A.7264A) will create a more transparent food system and transform New York State food procurement law by affording municipal public agencies the option to purchase food based on seven criteria: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued agricultural sector, workers’ rights, health and nutrition, racial equity, and animal welfare.

“Knowing where our food comes from, its nutritional content, and how it was produced helps us make informed decisions about what we choose to eat. But NY’s public institutions, which provide millions of meals each year, are restricted by antiquated laws that limit what food they can purchase and serve to their communities. NOFA-NY has strongly supported the Good Food NY bill and its passing enables public institutions more flexibility in exercising their buying power, for example, by buying produce from local farms. As an organization of organic and regenerative farmers and gardeners, we believe that how our food is produced matters for our health and well-being, our environment, and our local economies and that public institutions should be allowed to account for these impacts when making procurement decisions.” – Katie Baildon, Policy Manager at Northeast Organic Farm Association of New York (NOFA-NY)

The Good Food NY Bill would make New York the first state in the country to adopt a values-based food procurement model at the municipal level. Currently, municipalities across New York State are required to choose the lowest-cost vendor to supply food for public institutions such as schools, hospitals, senior living centers, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities. The Good Food NY Bill aims to empower communities to instead select vendors that reflect public values like equity, sustainability, and ethical labor practices. The bill would also allow preference for Minority and Women-Owned businesses – allowing New York State to address long-standing biases in public contract negotiations.

The Good Food NY Bill is the result of advocacy by the New York State Good Food Purchasing Program Coalition, a coalition of 70+ local and national food systems advocates led by Community Food Advocates (CFA), a New York City nonprofit that advocates to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally affirming foods.

Learn more about The Good NY Bill here. Find the full press release here which includes more quotes from coalition members. NOFA-NY is a proud member of the NY Good Food Purchasing Program Coalition and the Good Food Buffalo Coalition