On August 1st, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson presented his plan to address food inequities in New York City, defined as unequal access to healthy food and socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and other disparities in the impact of the food system on well-being. The report outlines the food-related problems the city faces including high levels of food insecurity, lack of access to healthy and affordable food for New Yorkers in low-income communities and communities of color, and food waste.
Amy Kwan is a recent graduate of the Doctor of Public Health program at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. She is also an experienced staff person for several youth and community organizations and has participated in many participatory community health research studies. Amy’s doctoral dissertation From Food to Food Justice: Pathways and Narratives of Young Food Activists In New York City was completed in 2017. In this interview, Nicholas Freudenberg, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Public Health, Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, and Amy’s dissertation faculty sponsor, asks her about the findings from her dissertation project.
Several organizations and coalitions, which include frontline direct-service emergency food providers; anti-poverty, senior advocacy, and immigrants’ rights groups; public health and academic institutions; and healthy food retail advocates, have together developed a New York City and State Healthy Food for All Budget Request Platform as a unified approach to advocate for New York City and State budgets that contribute to reducing hunger and promoting access to healthy, affordable food for all New Yorkers.
In our February Newsletter, we wrote about a SNAP rule change proposed by the United States Department of Agriculture. The new rule would increase hunger and food insecurity by restricting the ability of states to waive the time limits for receipt of SNAP by able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS). [Read earlier article here].
The State of New York would be particularly hard hit by the proposed rule. Nationally, USDA estimates that more than three quarters of a million current recipients would lose their SNAP benefits. Comments must be submitted by April 2.
Once again, the Trump administration has posted a proposed rule change that would increase hunger and food insecurity in the United States. And again, advocates are calling for individuals and organizations to post comments during the mandatory 60-day comment period that ends on April 2. The proposed rule would change the basis on which the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants the states waivers from rules restricting unemployed adults without children to three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period, commonly known as ABAWD regulations. USDA estimates that 755,000 people would lose benefits and predicts a net reduction in spending on SNAP benefits of $7.9 billion over five years. Some background may be helpful.
On September 22, 2018 the Trump Administration proposed changes in the "public charge" rules that would expand the discretion of the Office of Homeland Security to deny applications for green cards or certain types of visas. This decision would be based on an immigrant’s age, family size, income, and assets, as well as based on whether they have utilized certain cash or non-cash public benefits or programs they are legally entitled to use, including use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Such a change could make life more difficult for New Yorkers who depend on and are eligible for many of our nation's public benefit programs. As Food Policy Monitor reported in its previous issue and discussed at the October Food Policy Forum, the proposed rule change could reverse recent progress in reducing food insecurity in New York City.
The Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program was launched in 2009 to encourage grocery stores to open in underserved communities by providing zoning and financial incentives to eligible grocery store operators and developers. The program is an effort between several New York City agencies and relies on input from city government and community groups.
In 2016, over 15.6 million U.S. households experienced food insecurity at some point, meaning at least one member of the household had limited access to adequate food due to lack of money or other resources. Access to adequate food may be conceptualized within five dimensions: availability (item variety), accessibility (e.g., hours of operation), accommodation (e.g., cultural sensitivity), affordability (costs, monetary or otherwise), and acceptability (e.g., as related to quality). For those who are food insecure, food pantries can be a vital resource for accessing food and meeting basic nutritional requirements.
by Nevin Cohen, Research Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
A decade ago, New York City set out to improve access to healthy food in neighborhoods with insufficient full-service grocery stores. The resulting Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, adopted in 2009, was modeled after the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing initiative and mirrored similar efforts in cities, states, and the federal government. FRESH eased zoning requirements for supermarket development and offered financial benefits to encourage supermarket operators to open and expand stores in designated FRESH zones.