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The capitalist diet: Energy-dense and profitable. Freudenberg’s review of The Neoliberal Diet: Unhealthy Profits, Unhealthy People by Gerardo Otero. (2018).

A recent book by Gerald Otero, The Neoliberal Diet: Unhealthy Profits, Unhealthy People, analyzes how global diets have changed in recent decades, what caused these changes, and who loses and gains by the transformation. In the book, Otero describes how the global diet that emerged at the turn of the 21st century has contributed to world-wide increases in overweight and obesity and how neoliberalism, the variant of capitalism that evolved in this period, promotes obesogenic diets. Neoliberalism posits that markets are best equipped to solve all problems and that by deregulating, privatizing, and emphasizing individual responsibility, governments can unleash capitalist economies for growth. Otero makes several points that warrant the attention of food policy analysts and advocates. Read the review by CUNY Urban Food Policy Director Nicholas Freudenberg in the latest issue of Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

Realizing a comprehensive urban agriculture plan in New York City?

Realizing a comprehensive urban agriculture plan in New York City?

In New York, many gardeners, farmers, advocates, and, more recently, entrepreneurs argue that policies should facilitate long-term use of city land for urban agriculture, or remove barriers to entry for new businesses hoping to start-up in the Big Apple. And, as new forms of food production such as indoor hydroponics and remotely-controlled systems have joined longer standing community-run farms and gardens, an increasing number of New York City policy makers are joining in their support for such ideas. Nonetheless, to date, there is no comprehensive policy plan systematically guiding the existence of urban agriculture in the city, including its 1,200 community gardens; 490 school gardens; and 20 community farms and its growing commercial sector.

Bringing the Good Food Purchasing Program to NYC

Bringing the Good Food Purchasing Program to NYC

The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is one of the most comprehensive efforts to harness the power of institutional food procurement to achieve social, environmental, and economic goals through the promotion of better food purchasing practices. Specifically, the program provides a metric-based, flexible framework that prioritizes five core values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. With more than 100 national, state, and local food system experts providing recommendations and feedback on the policy, the GFPP is the first procurement model to support these five values in equal measure.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Overdue and Ripe for Reform

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Overdue and Ripe for Reform

New York City advocates for the health and well-being of children, like their colleagues around the nation, have an opportunity to take action, NOW. Congress has at last taken up the process of Child Nutrition Reauthorization, routinely referred to as “CNR” by those who gear up, approximately every five years, to work for improvements in the legislation governing the nation’s child nutrition programs. In addition to School Lunch and Breakfast and the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the CNR process includes out of school time meals such as summer and after-school meal programs, and meals provided to pre-school children in childcare settings as well as several smaller programs. For a complete list see a primer prepared by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

City Council and Organizations Defend NYC Urban Agriculture Plan Bill in City Hall

City Council and Organizations Defend NYC Urban Agriculture Plan Bill in City Hall

New York City is an epicenter for urban agriculture. With the largest system in the country, it includes a vast (and perhaps unknown) number of community gardens, greenhouses, and rooftop farms. Despite this vital urban infrastructure, the city still does not have a comprehensive urban agriculture plan. New York City lags behind other US cities that have integrated urban agriculture in their plans and policies, such as Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

On June 11th, the New York City Council held a hearing on Int. No. 1058, a bill introduced by City Council Member Rafael Espinal Jr. at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Adams that would organize, integrate, and expand urban agriculture in New York City for the first time. The bill is co-signed by 46 Council Members.

Eating in East Harlem Revisited:  Will a new supermarket lead to healthier neighborhood food choices?

Eating in East Harlem Revisited:  Will a new supermarket lead to healthier neighborhood food choices?

In 2016, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute released the report Eating in East Harlem: An Assessment of Changing Foodscapes in Community District 11. The report found that, while the number of supermarkets in East Harlem had increased from 10 to 18 between 2000 and 2015, an increase of 80%, the number of fast food establishments had increased even more, from 11 to 47, a 327% increase. For every supermarket in East Harlem in 2015, there were almost three fast food outlets, one of the many reasons why East Harlem residents bear a disproportionate share of the city’s burden of diet-related diseases such as diabetes.

Riverside County, California Adopts Home Cooking Ordinance

Riverside County, California Adopts Home Cooking Ordinance

On May 7, 2019, the board of supervisors in Riverside County, California unanimously passed Ordinance 949, which regulates micro-enterprise home kitchen operations. The ordinance allows for the production and sale of small batched food directly from homes and legalizes what has been known to be commonplace throughout the Riverside County area. After 30 days, the ordinance went into effect on June 5, 2019.

New York City's Strategic Plan OneNYC 2050: Key Food-Related Goals and Initiatives

New York City's Strategic Plan OneNYC 2050: Key Food-Related Goals and Initiatives

In April 2019, the City of New York released OneNYC 2050 – a nine-volume strategic plan to “confront our climate crisis, achieve equity, and strengthen our democracy” in New York City. The plan is a continuation of the first OneNYC plan published in 2015, and, in part, of PlaNYC, the long-term sustainability plan for the city released under the previous city administration in 2007.

Q and A on Food Eco-Labels: An Interview with Jason J. Czarnezki

Q and A on Food Eco-Labels: An Interview with Jason J. Czarnezki

In April 2019 New York City passed its “Climate Mobilization Act” and released OneNYC 2050, a long-term strategic plan for the city’s resilient and equitable development. The plan acknowledges that “[w]e need to eliminate our contributions to climate-change-causing GHG emissions and build neighborhoods and infrastructure that support sustainable lifestyles and consumption, while creating economic opportunity for all.” So, a key question for those of us invested in food policy, is how can food regulations help cities and nations effectively lower their carbon footprint? Earlier in October 2018, Denmark also released its 2050 Climate Plan “Together for a Greener Future,” including a specific strategy introducing carbon labelling for food products.

Two cheers for the half empty glass of soda: New York City’s New Happy Healthy Meals Bill

Two cheers for the half empty glass of soda: New York City’s New Happy Healthy Meals Bill

At the end of March, the New York City Council passed and sent to the Mayor legislation that  requires restaurants and other food service establishments to serve water, low-fat milk or 100% juice as the default drinks with children’s meals, rather than soda or other sugary drinks. Parents can still request these less healthy options but healthier choices will become the default option.  The law will go into effect on May 1, 2020 and will impose monetary penalties on restaurants that violate it. This new law, know as Local Law 75 of 2019, adds a new tool to the public health goal of reducing sugar consumption but also sets the stage for additional reforms.