Access to good, healthy affordable food is a right the we all should have. Sadly, for many of us Brooklynites it is very difficult to get quality nutritious food in our neighborhoods. The Brooklyn Food Coalition is dedicated to changing that. Come join us on May 12, 2012 and find out how you can be a part of that change.
What do we mean by Healthy, Affordable Food for All?
Written by Ellen Shapiro for the Brooklyn Food Coalition
What if empty lots were turned into community gardens and local farmers sold fresh fruits and vegetables in every Brooklyn neighborhood? What if kids learned how to grow and cook healthy food and were fed vitamin-packed meals at school? These goals are not pipe dreams. The Brooklyn Food Coalition believes that healthy, affordable food is everyone’s right, and we are committed to a just and sustainable food system for our all our neighbors and local food producers.The need has never been greater. More than three million New Yorkers live in low-income communities that lack access to affordable, wholesome food. In these “food deserts,” the choices are between fast-food restaurants with high-fat, sugary meals and bodegas that sell very little fresh food. It’s hardly a surprise that eating a nutritious diet is a big challenge in these communities–and that 40 percent of New York’s K-8 students are overweight or obese. Obesity is not about looks—it is a leading cause of the rapidly rising rates of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. This health crisis is so pervasive that, for the first time ever, today’s kids could have a shorter life span than their parents.
School lunches just add to the problem. The city of New York spends only $1 on the food in a school lunch, and most meals are not much better than fast food. The food is centrally prepared and highly-processed, supporting giant factory farms that use our tax dollars to produce the cheap corn, soy and wheat products that appear in almost all processed food. (This is one reason why a Big Mac costs less than an organic salad). School lunches are not only bad for the health of children, but also for the environment and our local farmers, who can’t compete with subsidized agribusiness. BFC is working to increase the amount spent on school lunches and to encourage the use of local fruit and vegetables– a way to eventually transform the local farm economy and ensure that the healthiest food is fed to our children.More and more Brooklynites are encouraging local food production by planting community gardens and shopping at local farmers’ markets (Brooklyn has close to thirty of them, and many accept EBT/Food Stamps). Another way to buy fresh food is directly from the farmer through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs. With a CSA, consumers can purchase a subscription from the grower and receive a box of locally-grown and seasonal produce throughout the growing season. There are also a growing number of Food Coops in the borough that offer local and organic food. Food is also being grown throughout our borough in schoolyards, rooftop gardens, and urban farms. The movement for local, affordable food is growing fast, but we need the continued support of every Brooklynite committed to a healthy future.