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Mayor's Office Of Recovery And Resiliency Announces Request For Proposals To Study Resiliency Of City's Food Supply System


RFP Issued by New York City Economic Development Corporation Calls for Analysis of the Supply and Distribution Systems that Bring 5.7 Million Tons of Food to New Yorkers Each Year

The Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) Director Daniel Zarrilli today announced a request for proposals, issued through the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), seeking an expert team to study New York City’s food supply and distribution networks in order to better understand these systems and their vulnerabilities as a part of the City’s resiliency plan.    

“Hurricane Sandy did not seriously impair our food supply chain, but it highlighted for us the vulnerability that exists and the lack of knowledge about how our supply chains would react in a future severe weather event,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “This study is a vital first step in identifying cost-effective and strategic resiliency options to provide food security for all New Yorkers.”  

Hurricane Sandy exposed vulnerabilities to the food supply system, inducing delays in truck-based freight, direct damage caused by flooding, and indirect losses due to power outage.  These left many New Yorkers with temporarily reduced access to food. Families without electricity were unable to keep perishable items or prepare hot meals at home until power was restored. While most of these impacts were localized to damaged buildings within these storm-impacted communities and the City’s overall food supply system was not badly disrupted, the City’s resiliency plan, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, recommends a study to better understand these risks and the food supply system in general.    

Flooding is not the only risk to the food supply system. Distribution and processing of food and food-related commodities also depend on the City’s power and transportation networks. This study will fill gaps in knowledge about how these system dependencies operate and interact with each other. For example, while it is estimated that 95% of the city’s food is delivered by truck and that 10% of the City’s food retail space lies in today’s 100-year floodplain, the study seeks to determine details about truck supply routes, how the risk of sea level rise will impact food retail space, or whether the City could absorb the loss of a major distribution center like the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, which distributes 60% of New York City’s produce and 50% of its fresh meat and fish and was spared serious damage from flooding largely because of the timing of Hurricane Sandy relative to tidal cycles.    

The RFP process seeks to identify a team of experts to conduct a study that will identify weaknesses within the City’s food system so that the City will be able to better assess future risks and implement strategic mitigation strategies. This study will also be used to develop alternative operating procedures in response to system interruptions, allowing the City to alleviate stress on critical networks and helping it be more prepared for future events, improving food security for all New Yorkers.    

“How food enters the city and is distributed is a very complex process,” said Barbara Turk, New York City’s Director of Food Policy.  “A better understanding about where our food comes from and how it is distributed will both help us protect against interruptions, and provide us with information we can use for food systems planning and policy development more generally.”    

“The Hunts Point Produce Market is pleased that the City is taking this important step to address the vulnerabilities in our food supply and distribution system,” said Joe Palumbo and Jeffrey Hass, Co-Presidents of the Hunts Point Produce Market. “It is crucial for us to be better prepared and more resilient to protect New York City families from ever facing a food crisis, which is why we also developed a plan for the produce market. We look forward to sharing our plan with the City and working together on this important study.”    

“Hurricanes Irene and Sandy were wake up calls for New York City and the region.  While many communities faced food insecurity in the immediate aftermath of the storm, elders in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, the disabled and families on fixed incomes with young kids were especially at risk well after the storm,” said Hugh Hogan, Executive Director, North Star Fund. “It's absolutely essential for all of us, led by city government, to undertake this study of the food system -- and we need to begin by hearing directly from the groups on the ground and those hardest hit by the storm to learn what happened.  So we applaud the Mayor, the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, and EDC for initiating this comprehensive study of the food system and its vulnerabilities, and heartily encourage our foundation peers to support the new Administration with this project in every way that we can.”  

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About ORR

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the establishment of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) in March 2014 in order to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and prepare for long-term risks.  ORR is tasked with improving the City’s activities by enhancing policy and planning coordination, as well as implementing strategies of long-term climate resiliency efforts among City agencies, while also incorporating resiliency into how the City operates; by expediting efforts to secure additional federal funding for resiliency upgrades; by continuing to collaborate on state and federal recovery and resiliency planning processes to maximize investment in New York City; and by expanding economic opportunity for New Yorkers and aligning workforce development and local hiring into every recovery and resiliency project.

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Contact Info

Kate Blumm ( NYCEDC )

212-312-3523

Amy Spitalnick ( Mayor's Press Office )

212-788-2958