In the days of vinyl, songs on the b-side got little air play and never made the charts, even though they often were as good as – or sometimes better than -- the hits. As we reviewed New York City’s 2018 Food Metrics Report, released in December by the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, we identified a number of “b-side food metrics” that would enrich our understanding of the food system. Yet these are rarely given proper air time, and as a result are often overlooked by advocates. Because these already collected and public data are sometimes hard to find, not aggregated and organized as food metrics, , they remain hidden in plain sight. In the examples that follow, we illustrate the value of these data sources in answering important policy questions for each of the Food Metrics Report’s four topical areas.
By Nevin Cohen, Research Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
It is tempting for New York City food advocates to focus on the many local policies under the purview of New York City government: improving school food; easing access to SNAP; or supporting urban farms and farmers markets. City agencies are responsible for the food system within the five boroughs, and city officials see a clear justification for policies that help New Yorkers.
This week the Mayor's Office of Food Policy released the 2016 Food Metrics Report, a New York City council mandated summary of various measures of food environments and food policy outcomes over the last year.
In January, the CUNY Urban Food Policy institute will post our analysis of this report. Send your comments and questions on the report to email@example.com and we'll address them in our analysis.
Nevin Cohen, Research Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
In the past year various New York City policies and programs have helped to grow urban agriculture: The city’s housing agency preserved dozens of gardens slated for housing development, including designing four existing gardens into a new development project. Gardens in the Lower East Side are being retrofitted to help protect the community from flooding. The Housing Authority has created large farms on several developments to train youth, involve residents, and grow and distribute fresh produce. And entrepreneurs have come together to advocate support for the nascent commercial urban agriculture industry. This brief explains that these efforts not only align with food policies but they address broader city goals that extend beyond food production.