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  • Writer's pictureNatalya Murakhver

Changes and Opportunities!

Hello friends!

It's been a beat since my last email and I hope that you have all been well. I am writing because I have taken a step back from school food advocacy and I am looking for someone to take over the mantle at the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance.

After more than 20 years writing and reporting on the business of restaurants, the time has come to do something different. Over the past few years (and this one in particular), I've been increasingly interested in legislative policy and working towards more equity between front and back of the house, and also advocating for owners and operators of small businesses who cannot handle the staggering costs of rent, labor, and mounting regulatory costs. I've been writing a lot about it.

So, when I heard that ROAR NY was looking for an executive director, I jumped at the chance. And last week, well, they hired me!! I am very excited about the chance to support front and back of house workers, to bring a new more sustainable operating paradigm to our industry, and to create a holistic ecosystem of care for all restaurant employees. It's thrilling and humbling to have been given this opportunity.

ROAR already has an amazing track record. In addition to raising $3 million in relief funds distributed directly to unemployed restaurant workers, they have helped secure NYC’s outdoor dining program for the future, advanced restaurant workers into the first priority order of vaccines, and launched an industry-focused vaccine bus in partnership with the Mayor’s Office.

I can't wait to get started and dig into the tough issues and big picture challenges that face our industry. With the amazing Steering Committee at ROAR I know we can build a stronger, more sustainable future of our magnificent New York City restaurant community. #HEARUSROAR!

That said, it is bittersweet to step away from the work I started with all of you in 2018. I have met some amazing people during this journey. I know a lot of you have worked very hard with me to advance children's health and get the Scratch Cooking Implementation Bill introduced. I really hope to see this work continue through OFNS Partnership Meetings and in partnership with amazing advocates like Wellness in the Schools, Community Food Advocates and the Tisch Food Center.

If there is anyone in this group who would like to take the mantle of NYC Healthy School Food Alliance, please reach out to me.

With gratitude,


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