The Foodprint Alliance Wants More Gardens, Less Petroleum



Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been in food news lately for his efforts to make food policy a priority for city planners. His efforts have been aided by those of the NYC Foodprint Alliance, a group modeled after Chicago’s Foodprint Alliance and comprised of numerous non-profit food and environmental organizations. The alliance formed in February with the main goal of introducing a resolution to the city council to make a sustainable food agenda part of PlaNYC (whose goal is to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions 30 percent by 2030), and to decrease the city’s so-called carbon “foodprint” through greater access to things like CSAs, farmers markets, community gardens, and foodsheds.

“The industry-based system is petroleum-based,” says Nadia Johnson, the food justice coordinator at Just Food, the organization that is one of the alliance’s founding members. “We need to look at the food system when addressing climate action plans.”

Johnson’s had a busy summer so far; the alliance has been working to get wider council support for the resolution.

Though the resolution, which was introduced on June 30, isn’t legally binding or attached to any funding, it is Johnson’s hope that it will help to build political awareness around the issue and get food on the city’s agenda. Since Council Member Bill de Blasio — an early supporter of the resolution — sent a letter to his colleagues urging them to take up the issue, 15 have signed on, according to the Foodprint website.

“Right now, we’re working to do outreach with city council members,” Johnson says. Last Tuesday, “we had our first New York call-in day, and are using Facebook and Twitter to raise support in various networks.” They’re also targeting CSA members in districts whose city council representatives haven’t given their support the resolution. If the alliance can get 30 to 40 council members to sign on, it will go to a vote. Johnson can’t predict when that may happen: “You never know with these things. But it would be wonderful if it happens by the end of the summer.”