Envisioning the Future of NYC Food

Last December, New York City Speaker Christine Quinn announced that the City Council would be undertaking a comprehensive plan for food in New York City. Just shy of a year later, the FoodWorks New York plan is about to be released. Speaker Quinn will be unveiling the plan this Monday morning at the Food and Finance high school to a group of food activists, policymakers, food systems stakeholders, and New York City residents looking towards a new future for food in New York City.

I’m looking forward to hearing about the Speaker’s plans for transforming the City’s food system. I’ll be reporting back next week, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is some information on the plan from the announcement last December. These are the five core areas the Speaker Quinn has set out to address with FoodWorksNYC:

1. Improve the city’s food infrastructure. Too much of New York City’s food infrastructure is outdated and inefficient, which costs us jobs and damages our environment. We need to begin making key, targeted investments – creating better links between the city and upstate producers, and supporting a smart redevelopment of Hunts Point.

2. Create new and better jobs in the food industry. There are currently over 19,000 New Yorkers employed in the food industry, but the potential exists for many more. The Council is going to develop creative ways to expand local food manufacturing, and attract more food industry companies to the city.

3. Keep more local food dollars in the local economy. Food sales and services in the five boroughs constitute a $30 billion market, but only 2% of the fruits and vegetables coming through the Hunts Point produce market are grown in New York State. The Council will pursue State legislation allowing the City to prioritize local producers; look to expand farmers markets and CSAs; and encourage more wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants to use regional products.

4. Reduce diet related diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 58 percent of all adults in New York City are overweight or obese, and more than half a million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with diabetes. We can fight this epidemic by bringing more healthy foods into low income neighborhoods, enroll more New Yorkers in Food Stamps and WIC, and getting more children taking advantage of free meals.

5. Reduce environmental damage from the production, transport, and consumption of food. Food in the US travels an average of 1,500 miles before consumption, dramatically increasing both greenhouse gasses produced and energy consumed. We can get more food transported into the city by rail instead of by truck, expand urban agriculture, and create programs allowing restaurants and homeowners to more easily compost their food scraps.

Image Via Civil Eats



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