The New York City Food Forum, a gathering of New York City food-active organizations, encourages our new Mayor to lead us towards a better food future for every New Yorker.
1. Hunger remains a persistent challenge. Our Mayor must:
- Enable more New Yorkers to put ample food on their tables by seeking State legislation empowering the City to enact a living minimum wage and leveraging the City's economic power, through economic development programs, contracts, subsidies, and land use policy, to support and create living wage jobs;
- Focus the City's welfare to work programs on job creation and training and create a public works program to break the post-recession cycle of high unemployment;
- Maximize participation in food assistance programs by removing barriers and disincentives, providing leadership and ample staff to improve effectiveness and civility, expanding education and enrollment efforts, taking full advantage of federal waivers and initiatives, and simplifying application processes and extending recertification periods;
- Increase the Emergency Food Assistance Program budget to $15 million and increase funding to expand senior center meal service and homebound meal delivery; and
- Be the nation's greatest municipal advocate for protecting and strengthening federal nutrition assistance programs, including advocating for aligning the SNAP food budget with the USDA Low Cost Food Plan.
2. Healthy Food will sustain our City’s greatest natural resource, New Yorkers. Our Mayor must:
- Extend cost-effective SNAP EBT processing capabilities to more farmers’ markets and other food providers, including Green Carts, increase Health Bucks funding, and supplement Farmers Market Nutrition Program funding;
- Decrease the human and financial costs of preventable, diet-related illness and death by discouraging the promotion of unhealthy – high fat, sugar, and salt – food, especially to parents and children; and
- Promote access to healthy food by supporting community gardens, farmers’ and mobile markets, food vendors and other markets offering fresh and healthy choices, and CSAs and food co-ops.
3. School Food is a bulwark against student hunger, poor nutrition and health, and inattention. Our Mayor must:
- Implement free school lunch for all, mandate breakfast in every homeroom, and increase the number of sites serving summer and after-school meals;
- Continue to increase the nutritional value and quality of school meals by enhancing kitchen staff skills and increasing kitchen capital investment, so more tasty meals, that our children will want to eat, can be made from scratch, with more fresh, local ingredients; and
- Increase food literacy by continuing school garden support and mandating food and nutrition education, K to12, developing curricula with parents, teachers, and students to start in elementary school with homeroom gardens and to continue through middle and high schools with healthy food choice, cooking, and food justice education.
4. Food Economy, in a food town like no other, can be an engine for growth. Our Mayor must:
- Support regional farms and local food hubs, public markets, food vendors, food business incubators, urban agriculture, and community kitchens that provide healthy food, entrepreneurial opportunity, and living wages;
- Use the power of the City’s food budget to improve the nutritional quality of the meals it serves and support New York and other regional farms and food processors by aggressively employing regional preference and freshness criteria in food purchasing for meals served by City agencies, including the Department of Education;
- Eliminate wage theft and support safe working conditions, availability of paid sick days - in lieu of ordered shift swaps, health benefits, and the right to organize for every City food chain worker.
5. Food Governance in our City covers every segment of the food chain. While the City has a Food Policy Coordinator and an inter-agency food task force, there is no entity that clearly and openly coordinates food activities, nor is there a formal, inclusive mechanism for New Yorkers to inform City food policies. Our Mayor must:
- Establish high-level coordination of the City's food activities to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness through a Department of Food, or another empowered, adequately resourced mechanism;
- Enhance Food Metrics reporting by adding goals, integrating food purchasing source information, and adding additional information about food programs, including nutrition program participation, emergency food programs and food distribution preparedness, and urban agriculture land availability; and
- Support and fund an inclusive, participative process that engages New Yorkers from every food system intersection - public, private, not-for-profit, community/production, processing, distribution, consumption, waste - to give them a voice in shaping our City’s food future.
About the New York City Food Forum
The New York City Food Forum is a collaboration of more than 80 food-active organizations that have come together to achieve their shared vision of a better food future for every New Yorker. In addition to working collectively, each NYCFF organization also works to advance the issues most aligned with its own focus and mission and may not subscribe to every position adopted by the NYCFF. Together, these organizations reach tens of thousands of people through their respective outreach, education, programing, and advocacy efforts.
‘A Food Primer for Our New Mayor’ is supported by the following organizations:*
Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
Beth-Hark Christian Counseling Center, Inc.
Bon Secours New York Health System
Broadway Community Inc. / WHANAP
Bronx Health REACH
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Brooklyn Rescue Mission Urban Harvest Center Inc.
Citizens' Committee for Children of New York
Community Food Advocates
Community Health Action of Staten Island
Congregation Beth Elohim
Corbin Hill Food Project
Down to Earth Markets
East New York Farms
Edible Schoolyard NYC
Food & Water Watch
Food Bank For New York City
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Food Systems Network NYC
Fresh Exchange, BK
GRACE Communications Foundation
Greenpoint Reformed Church Hunger Program
Harlem Health Promotion Center
Hattie Carthan Community Garden
Hot Bread Kitchen
Hunger Action Network of New York State
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Laurie M Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy
Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
Leviticus Church / Five Loaves and Two Fishes
LSA Family Health Service
Masbia Soup Kitchen Network
Men Who Dine
Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP)
New York City Coalition Against Hunger
New York City Community Gardening Coalition
New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College
Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation
NRDC Action Fund
NY Faith & Justice
NYC Food and Fitness Partnership
Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals
Program in Nutrition, Teachers College Columbia U
Public Health Solutions
Queens County Farm Museum
The River Fund New York
Scenic Hudson Inc.
Slow Food Huntington
Slow Food NYC
Slow Money NYC
Southside United HDFC (Los Sures)
St. Edward Food Pantry
St. Mary's Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen
Staten Island Hunger Task Force
The Sylvia Center
United Neighborhood Houses
Waste to Wealth Ventures
Welfare Rights Initiative
Wellness in the Schools
West Side Campaign Against Hunger
*List will be updated on a rolling basis.
Interested in signing-on your organization to support 'A Primer for Our New Mayor?" Click here.