Current Events

NYC Community Gardens: In October of 2019 thirteen elected officials came together in an letter to call on the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to resolve outstanding issues in the latest proposed Green Thumb licensing agreements. The new 2019 Community Garden Licence Agreement and Green Thumb Gardeners’ Handbook presented new burdensome requirements that could force dozens of community gardens in New York City to close. This letter was made by Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, State Senator Brad Hoylman, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, State Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick, State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, State Assembly Member Dan Quart, State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal, City Council Member Margaret Chin, and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal who each gave their insight into why the community gardens were beneficial to the neighborhoods.

Improving the Food Systems in New Orleans Schools: When the Hurricane hit in New Orleans they decided that change was needed so they emerged as food justice as an approach to improve the schools food environment. They created a group to get together and rethink what was wrong with the schools and try to figure out a solution. They chose to focus on food in the schools because that was mostly the problem in each school. Wanted to improve food because it tastes terrible and the cafeterias conditions were horrible. Began to look for alternatives, including bringing fresh local foods and changing menus to provide healthy and fresh foods. They became really passionate about the food issue they wanted to really help the community. Wanted to make it global so that other people can do it anywhere else to improve food conditions and help any community. 

Food Scarcity During the Global Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of families to not have enough food on the table. An estimate of 1 in 5 U.S households don’t have enough to eat. They wanted to fight hunger, Not many of the families have enough money or even help to stack up on food especially during the lockdown we are in. The state wants restaurants to give out 3 meals a day to people who can’t really afford any food, Farmers can also donate food to anyone in need. Many farmers are donating to a lot of food banks to give back to the ones in need. They went from giving 11 million pounds in January to 14 million in march and the 21 million in April. “The governor has credited CDFA Secretary Karen Ross with spearheading the movement to fight food insecurity in the state, particularly the expansion of the Farm to Family program. Civil Eats spoke with Ross, who has served in her role for nine years, about her efforts as California contends with a projected 18 percent unemployment rate and a $54 billion budget deficit. So far, 128 farmers and ranchers are donating to food banks and another 200 farmers have expressed interest in doing so”

Improving Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in New York: Food access is important in all settings where people make choices. Improving food access in settings such as schools, worksites, early care and education programs, and food retail may include changing organizational policies to improve the availability and provision of healthy food choices, developing or updating nutrition standards for food service operations, and educating customers about how to identify healthy choices, such as through point-of-purchase information. Innovative approaches are emerging to improve food access within communities. In 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC City Council signed legislation for Local Law 9, which established 1,000 permits for a new street class of food vendors called Green Carts as part of a city-wide effort to increase the consumption of healthy foods throughout NYC. Green carts are mobile food carts that sell whole fresh fruits and vegetables in target neighborhoods with low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption. To support the program, the administrative Health Code was amended by the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to allow new mobile produce vendors. As a result, the Green Carts Initiative led to an increase in new job opportunities and the introduction of fresh fruits and vegetables in areas where produce consumption was low.In addition to the Green Carts Initiative, the Healthy Bodegas Program was founded in 2006 by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity in partnership with the NYC DOHMH to collaborate with bodegas to support environmental changes to help stores promote healthier items. In 2009, NYC DOHMH conducted a program evaluation examining 60 of the bodegas that had received assistance through the program by distributing surveys to store owners and consumers. The Health Bucks initiative is a farmers market coupon incentive program to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income New Yorkers. Each Health Buck coupon is redeemable for fruits and vegetables at farmers markets across NYC. Health Bucks users report that the coupons make them more likely to buy fresh produce, and farmers market managers reported that new customers shop at the market more often and more repeat customers come to the market because of Health Bucks.

Serving up Food Justice at School: Jessica was learning about fats and realized that everything she was eating wasn’t good for her, She decided to cut fast food out of life and start a healthier lifestyle. She then started sharing the idea with everyone from her family, friends and school peers and others and decided to create a food justice club at her school. Talking about food justice made the class more engaging for students. More students started noticing and started to change their eating habits, After a while they started do school gardens. Some people think it’s expensive and difficult but the school found it to be better because it let the kids grow any fruit or vegetable because buying these can be pretty expensive. The school then started to become partners who can teach them more about food justice and help them expand their club. Parents and students started getting more involved and that helped the community get a little bit better.  

The Teens For Food Jusice/ Sun Club Farm at Dewitt Clinton High School: They created a whole page to talk about how the teens should be making a difference when it comes to the food situation. They are teaching students key skills to help improve their health and give them healthy life choices. They have financial support from GME and the students grow up to 19,000 lbs of produce annually to feed their entire school and it’s 1,300 students daily. It shows steps of what they did starting with building a hydroponic and having indoor gardens and studying about nutrition and all that. They had a corporation donate $126,870.00 which paid for their whole system and equipment they needed for a year. 

Soul of Food Justice: It talks about how food justice after the fast foods came into the world that everything got changed after fast food restaurants started to open up because fast food is cheaper than healthy foods. So they started taking matters more seriously and started to develop different clubs to help the rates of unhealthy foods decrease instead of increasing. They wanted to make sure everyone knew about it and wanted to help the community one step at a time. There’s different beneficial programs for low income communities to purchase some of the good foods that are cheaper for them and different clubs where they are selling foods for less and growing a lot more.