Plenty of enterprising politicians have paid lip service to the idea of trying to make the city’s food supply healthier, more easily accessible, and environmentally sound, but far fewer have actually done anything about it, aside from telling us to eat less salt and showing us photos of soda turning into fat. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is one of those happy few: last summer, he outlined his plans for making food policy a priority for city government, and in December, he hosted a food and climate summit.
Earlier this week, Stringer released FoodNYC: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System, a report containing a number of proposals to make the city’s food system more sustainable, and to increase access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods.
Stringer’s report makes numerous suggestions for reforming the food system. Among them are:
— the creation of a urban agriculture program to promote community gardening, as well as the development of rooftop gardens and other food producing spaces for personal, commercial, and community use.
— the promotion of regional agriculture by connecting upstate and Long Island farms with downstate consumers.
— the redevelopment and modernization of the Hunts Point Market to better facilitate and increase the sale and consumption of regional foods.
— the creation of new farmers’ markets in city-owned spaces.
— the creation of large- and small-scale composting initiatives.
— a ban on plastic water bottle sales in city buildings and on municipal property, and the concurrent increase in the number of water fountains throughout the city.
— more education for schoolchildren about healthy and environmentally sound eating, and the institution of “Meatless Mondays” (an initiative created by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) in school cafeterias.
— the creation of an Office of Food and Markets to implement systemic reform of the city’s food and agricultural policies and programs. The report also urges the Mayor to consider amending PlaNYC to overhaul the city’s food system.