First unified and comprehensive set of “food policy” proposals offered by NYC official to improve New Yorkers’ health, clean the environment, and create jobs
New York, February 17, 2010 – Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer today released “FoodNYC: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System,” the most comprehensive effort to date to unify and reform New York City’s policies regarding the production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of food.
The report, a product of the NYC Food & Climate Summit held at NYU in December in partnership with the non-profit Just Food, outlines a package of proposals that will make our food system more sustainable by prioritizing products from New York State, increasing access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods, and expanding the food economy. To read the entire report, click here.
“By devoting serious attention to our food system, city government can in one stroke improve public health, sustainability, and job creation,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “In recent years, there’s been growing interest in this issue, but we’re still left with a grab bag of disjointed, independent initiatives. Now, with the help of hundreds of dedicated New Yorkers, the document we’re releasing today will for the first time present a single, comprehensive vision for food policy in this city.”
“This report provides a clear path for a comprehensive overhaul of our food system, one that will empower New Yorkers to get involved in their community and in government,” said Jacquie Berger, Executive Director of Just Food. “Support and advocacy for these policies will make climate friendly, healthy foods the most affordable, accessible, easy choice for everyone.”
“This report puts New York City at the forefront of an exciting movement across the country in which citizens are developing practical solutions to fixing our broken food system while improving our health, boosting the economy, and healing the environment,” said Anna Lappé, Summit participant and author of Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It.
“If you care about New York’s food future, read this document, determine where you can help, and pitch in,” said Columbia University Professor Joan Gussow. “Without question, the best set of ideas in print about preparing the City’s food system to meet the challenges to come.”
During 29 “breakout sessions” at December’s Food & Climate Summit, experts in agriculture, nutrition and environmental sciences debated and discussed different ideas to improve the city’s food system. They looked at the life cycle of the city’s food supply, from production and distribution to consumption and disposal, with the goal of shaping a policy that integrates energy and climate objectives with social, public health and economic goals. The report details the best and most pragmatic proposals and urges reform in the following areas:
URBAN AGRICULTURE – Establish food-producing spaces in New York City for personal, community, or commercial use by the year 2030, through various legislative and land-use actions. The City should facilitate the development of rooftop gardens, in addition to creating an NYC Urban Agriculture Program, which would provide access, resources, and information to promote community gardening.
REGIONAL FOOD PRODUCTION – Promote and support regional agriculture by connecting upstate and Long Island farms with downstate consumers, and by mapping the food produced and sourced from the region within approximately 200 miles of New York City.
FOOD PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTION – Increase the sale and consumption of regional foods by expanding distribution and processing capacity. In particular, the Administration, in conjunction with the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), should redevelop the Hunts Point Produce Market, to both modernize this food delivery hub and ensure that the 8,500 jobs the facility maintains remain in NYC.
NEW MARKETS – Increase the number and type of retail food outlets that deviate from the traditional grocery store model by dedicating city-owned spaces for use as “alternative” food markets. By increasing the number and long term viability of farmers markets, the City can give residents both the option and the access to healthy food.
PROCUREMENT OF REGIONALLY PRODUCED FOOD – Incorporate preferences for locally-sourced food into the city’s procurement regulations. Specifically, the City Council should pass legislation that would require 20% of all food purchased by city agencies to come from local producers.
EDUCATION – Educate New York City’s children to become a new generation of healthy and environmentally aware eaters. Moreover, students should have access to some type of agricultural production, be it a community garden or urban farm.
FOOD WASTE – Launch twin composting initiatives: (a) support for large-scale composting through creation of a municipal facility; and (b) support for small-scale composting through education, decentralized composting bins, and more pick-up locations.
PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES – Ban the sale of bottled water in all city facilities and on municipal property, and increase the use of water fountains and canteens. Plastic water bottles waste an enormous amount of energy to produce and only a small portion are recycled.
FOOD ECONOMY – Actively develop the local economy’s food sector to create more jobs while elevating labor standards, environmental protections and public health. Moreover, the creation of kitchen incubators in every borough will create entrepreneurial opportunities for many New Yorkers with a talent for food production.
OFFICE OF FOOD AND MARKETS – Create an Office of Food and Markets to coordinate and lead systemic reform of the city’s food and agricultural policies and programs. In addition, the Mayor should look at amending PlaNYC to include a comprehensive overhaul of the City’s food system, like the one outlined in this report.
Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer • 212.669.8300
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The Manhattan Borough Presidentís Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer.