Dear New Yorker,
We are continuing to make important headway creating a healthier food system and a more prosperous New York City. If you have any questions or comments about the latest food initiatives listed below, please don’t hesitate to contact Alissa Weiss in the NYC Council’s Policy Division. She can be reached by telephone at (212) 341-0359 or by email at email@example.com.
Thanks so much and enjoy the rest of your summer!
Christine C. Quinn
NYC Council & the Pratt Institute Launch Food Distribution Study
As part of our continuing effort to help grow and strengthen the City’s food sector, the NYC Council is partnering with the Pratt Institute on an important new study to look at how we can better optimize and expand the distribution of locally-manufactured food in NYC.
With more than 14,000 workers employed around the five boroughs, the food industry has remained a bright spot throughout the recession, generating vital economic activity for the City. However, we know from conversations with local food makers that distribution costs can be a huge drain on their business.
With the information gleaned from this study, we will identify new, more efficient ways to help local food makers distribute their products to new and existing markets in and beyond the five boroughs.
We’re very excited to be partnering with the Pratt Center on this important project. Improving the way that food makes its way into and around the City is a key part of our FoodWorks plan, and we look forward to working with the Center to help make it easier for local food businesses to get their goods to key markets at a lower cost.
You can read more about these efforts in the NY Observer at http://observer.com/2012/
Ensuring Funding for Vital Food Programs and Initiatives
Even though this was a difficult budget year, we were able to secure funding for a number of important initiatives vital to the health and well-being of all New Yorkers.
Under the leadership of Finance Chair Domenic Recchia, Jr., we were able to restore $1.5 million to the City’s Human Resources Administration for direct food purchases by food banks and to assist in the automation of food stamp enrollment at food pantries, soup kitchens, and other key locations.
We were also able to secure funding to:
- support farmers’ markets in low-income communities across the five boroughs ($60,000);
- continue promoting Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) access at select greenmarkets around the city so that more New Yorkers can use their food stamps to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at these markets ($270,000); and
- support disconnected youth working at the New Amsterdam Market ($61,000).
And, as part of our FoodWorks plan, we were able to provide funding to train and place underemployed and underserved New Yorkers in the growing food retail industry ($60,000) and to help organizations around the City start food cooperatives.
We would like to thank everyone, especially all of the advocates and advocacy groups, who worked with us to help keep funding for food programs a top priority in the Fiscal Year 2013 Adopted Budget.
You can read more about this year’s budget agreement on the Council’s website at www.council.nyc.gov.
Fighting for a Better, Stronger Farm Bill
With the Farm Bill up for reauthorization this year, we have an important opportunity to address hunger, improve access to healthy food, fuel economic growth, and protect the environment in New York and throughout the country.
While the bill that the U.S. Senate recently passed includes many positive provisions – including a much-needed increase in funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program – the $4.49 billion cut to SNAP would hurt many of our most vulnerable residents. When combined with disturbing draft from the House to eliminate over $16.5 billion in SNAP funding, these cuts are even more devastating. SNAP not only provides much needed help to food insecure families, but it also stimulates our local economy, as every $1 in benefits generates $1.80 in economic activity that supports our neighborhood supermarkets, corner stores, and farmers’ markets.
That’s why the City Council passed Resolution #1342 this past May, calling on Congress to pass a fair and effective Farm Bill – one that includes adequate funding for these vital programs.
With the right kind of Farm Bill, we can continue the great strides we’ve made addressing hunger, improving access to healthy, affordable food, and generating economic growth right here in our own backyard.
Special thanks to the Council Member Gale Brewer for introducing this resolutions and for helping to spearhead our efforts to secure a better, stronger Farm Bill for our city.
Making it Easier for New Yorkers to Grow Their Own Food
Since the release of our FoodWorks plan, the City Council has passed a number of important laws and resolutions that will help make it easier for urban farmers to set up within the city’s borders – whether that’s in a community garden or on a rooftop.
In fact, there was a great write-up in the NY Times recently about how these efforts are literally transforming the City’s skyline. (To read, click here.)
We’re thrilled to see New York City leading the way in urban agriculture and farming.
NYC Council Kicks Off Second Year of City’s First Government-Based Community Supported Agriculture Program
Lettuce, blueberries, garlic, radishes, Swiss char.
These are just a few of the fresh fruits and vegetables that New York’s own Norwich Farms is delivering each week to Council Members and staff who signed up to receive pre-purchased shares of fruits and vegetables through the Council’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Established two summers ago as part of our FoodWorks initiative, the Council CSA program is one of the first in what we hope will be many more work-place CSA programs around the City connecting New Yorkers with fresh, locally grown produce.
The selection of fruits and vegetables varies from week to week, so we’re always excited to see what we’re getting next. Leftovers are being donated to local food pantries across the city where the produce will help provide healthy, nutritious meals to the hungry.
Free Summer Meals for Students!
With summer in full swing, we wanted to make sure you knew about the City’s Summer Meals Program, which provides free meals for children 18 years old or younger.
The Summer Meals Program is completely free and is offered at over 1,000 sites around the five boroughs, operating weekdays through August 31. It provides a nutritious breakfast and lunch to every child without any paperwork requirements. All your kid needs to do is show up and they can receive a healthy meal. The only requirement is that they are 18 years old or younger.
Meal locations are spread throughout the city’s community centers, parks, pools, and many public schools. We encourage parents to take advantage of this important opportunity and to help spread the word. To find a site near you, please go to http://newyorkcity.