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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.

Paths to Youth Food Activism: An Interview with Amy Kwan

Paths to Youth Food Activism: An Interview with Amy Kwan

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.

Food Sovereignty and Citizen-driven Initiatives in Madrid

Food Sovereignty and Citizen-driven Initiatives in Madrid

Globalization and neoliberal policies are shaping current food and agricultural systems. Food in cities and certain ideas regarding local food systems have emerged as counter-movements. As formulated in The Declaration of Nyéléni,* food sovereignty refers to “the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute, and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” This declaration is a transformative paradigm, which entails the inclusion of diverse social actors in the processes of consultation, planning and decision-making. A recent example from the city of Madrid shows how to bring citizens to the heart of urban governance processes.


* http://www.foodsovereignty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Download-declaration-Agroecology-Nyeleni-2015.pdf

Eating Without Reservation: Ensuring Food Safety in New York City

Eating Without Reservation: Ensuring Food Safety in New York City

Each year more than 6,000 New York City residents are hospitalized for food-borne illnesses, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).  In 2017, 3,287 suspected food poisoning cases were reported to 311 and the NYC DOHMH. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of these annual complaints to 311 increased by almost 20 percent. 

NYC FY20 Preliminary Budget and Food Systems

NYC FY20 Preliminary Budget and Food Systems

In February 2019 the City of New York released its FY20 Preliminary Budget Departmental Estimates and other financial reports such as the Citywide Savings Program, and the Register of Community Board Budget Requests (with City Agency responses in February). While City Council and Borough Presidents also have funds, that they can allocate for projects commonly addressed at district or borough needs, the City's expense budget – which includes annual expenses such as salaries and supplies, and capital budget – which guides investment in infrastructure and equipment lasting multiple years – are essential tools through which the city shapes food systems and policy. So, what do these preliminary FY20 City budget documents tell us about the City’s urban food system and the city agencies that govern it? We took a closer look at some of the numbers and here is what we found.