July 21, 2009

Support FoodprintNYC

Today there is an initiative going on to urge city council members in New York City to support a resolution introduced by councilman Bill de Blasio called FoodprintNYC. The resolution aims to establish policies and programs that would encourage better access to local and organic food in New York City, especially in low income neighborhoods. It also aims to decrease the environmental impact of food production and consumption in and around NYC. The text is available here.

This is really, really important. An estimated 750,000 New York City residents do not have regular access to healthy food. That's as many as the entire population of Columbus, Ohio. This results in a surge in food related health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, which puts a strain on our health care system as well as the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people in our community.

The resolution aims to implement the recommendations described in Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's report “Food in the Public Interest.” The full text of the report is available here, but these are some boiled-down highlights of his recommendations:
  • Increase the number of eligible New Yorkers enrolled in the food stamp program and expand the number of places where food stamps are accepted (like more farmer's markets)
  • Cap the number of fast food restaurants and restrict the development of new ones in certain areas
  • Promote agriculture via new farmers markets, CSAs and urban gardening in areas with limited access to fresh food
  • Expand the production of and access to locally produced fresh foods and reduce the amount of fuel needed to transport these foods to NYC
  • Encourage the consumption of healthy food and decrease the availability of junk food in schools and workplaces and increase nutrition education in public schools
While it would be nice if there were a click-n-send option for supporting FoodprintNYC, the best way to influence your local city council member is through a good old-fashioned phone call. Resources on finding your local city council member and determining whether he or she currently supports the resolution (Res 2049-2009) are available on the FoodprintUSA website. If your council member does not currently support the resolution (and only 11 do so far) the site has an easy script to call and ask them to support it, and if he or she already does, it has a script for calling to thank them.

I called the office of my council woman Diana Reyna this morning (and found out she plans to support the resolution, yay!) and it took about 20 seconds. 20 seconds! This blog post took an hour to write...if you think this is important, I think you have 20 seconds!

1 comment:

  1. You sure a busy gardener. Composting, shopping,sluething, cooking etc. Have fun!grandma L