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Taking Power Back: Food Policies to Curb Predatory Marketing in New York

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Taking Power Back: Food Policies to Curb Predatory Marketing in New York

March 12, 2024 @ 10:00 am 11:30 am PDT

Hosted by Community Food Funders

Co-sponsored by New York Health Foundation, Philanthropy New York,
and Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders

Briefing: 1-2:30pm ET: Online

In many communities of color across the five boroughs, it’s no mistake that McDonald’s outlets outnumber grocery stores. Marketers of processed food spend billions of dollars to manipulate the local food environment, exploiting local history, culture, and economics. Now, community advocates across New York are fighting to reduce the food and beverage industry’s influence and successfully putting power back in community members’ hands.

Join Community Food Funders, New York Health Foundation and our co-sponsors to learn from community leaders and advocates about their recent wins, such as the Sweet Truth Act that passed last fall. We’ll also hear about a new slate of food policies that would take the burden off consumers to parse healthy from unhealthy foods and that would encourage retailers, manufacturers, and government agencies to create healthier default options. 
Speakers will discuss how a national regranting initiative is supporting community action, providing opportunities for cross-pollination across the country, building the evidence base to improve public health, and attracting like-minded funders.


Dr. Omni Cassidy, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine/Langone Health where she directs the Food, Culture, & Tech Lab. She examines the intersections of food, culture, and technology with a specific focus on how food and beverage companies use advanced digital technologies, such as virtual reality, to market unhealthy products to communities of color. She hopes to eventually leverage advanced digital technologies to develop, improve, and inform novel interventions and policies to improve the food environment.

Robert Pezzolesi, MPH, ODHM (Bob) is a founding Convener of the Interfaith Public Health Network. He is a public health advocate dedicated to building healthier communities by integrating faith-inspired social change with science-based public health policy and practice. Bob has helped lead successful community engagement and mobilization efforts for public health policy campaigns, including a grassroots initiative to remove alcohol advertising from the New York MTA system and to support legislation to require warning labels in NYC chain restaurants for menu items with high amounts of added sugars. In 2023, Bob was consecrated and commissioned as a Home Missioner in the United Methodist Church, a lay leadership role dedicated to alleviating suffering and promoting social justice.

Shen’naque Sean Butler is a community health advocate and the founder of the FRESCH Food Bronx Health Initiative. His story is one of resilience, determination, and compassion. Shen’naque Sean lost his mother to cancer when she was only 57 years old, and he realized that her health was compromised by the lack of healthy food options in the Bronx. Motivated by her memory, he resolved to change the local food landscape. His mother, a nurse, and his grandmother, a sharecropper, instilled in him a sense of service and social justice. He has transformed his grief into a powerful force for good. Through his FRESCH Food Bronx Health Initiative, Shen’naque Sean is not only providing nutritious food to those in need but also empowering the community to take charge of their health. His advocacy as a community voice had an essential role in the passage of the Sweet Truth Act, groundbreaking legislation that mandates fast food chains operating in NYC to put warning labels on food items with high sugar content. With unwavering dedication, he seeks to make a lasting impact on the well-being of Bronx residents and the broader conversation surrounding food policy and health.

DeAnna Nara, PhD is a policy lead at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She works with community-based organizations across the country to pursue measures that improve the food environment. As an Edward Alexander Bouchet Doctoral Fellow, DeAnna earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University. Her doctoral dissertation focused on nutritional management of chronic disease among low income, minority residents in DC. DeAnna earned a MSc in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS in Psychology from Howard University, completing her Post Baccalaureate Training at the National Institute of Mental Health within the Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Regulation. DeAnna is the Chair of the DC Board of Nutrition & Dietetics and is also a Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist.

Areas of Impact:

Health  |   Human/Public Health  |   Nutrition  |   Justice  |   Equity  |   Food Access  |   Policy-Local/State/Tribal

Found in event:

Meetings  |   Webinars