Last month, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released plans for making food policy a priority for New York City government in FoodNYC: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System.
Stringer proposed eight ways to improve the Manhattan food system:
I. Creation of an 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.
II. Promotion of regional agriculture by connecting upstate and Long Island farms with downstate consumers.
III. Redevelopment and modernization of the Hunts Point Market to better facilitate and increase the sale and consumption of regional foods.
IV. Creation of new farmers’ markets in city-owned spaces.
V. Creation of large- and small-scale composting initiatives.
VI. Imposing a ban on plastic water bottle sales in city buildings and on municipal property, with a concurrent increase in the number of water fountains throughout the city.
VII. 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.
VIII. 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, New York City’s comprehensive sustainability plan for the city’s future, to incorporate an overhaul of the city’s food system. PlaNYC puts forth a strategy to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas footprint, while also accommodating a population growth of nearly one million, and improving the city’s infrastructure and environment. New York has set the goal of reducing its citywide carbon emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels.
Finally, there is a proposal for development of a garden at New York City Hall.
The garden will represent New Yorkers’ commitment to education, public service, healthy eating, and environmental stewardship and will be tended by NYC public school students, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the region’s talented gardeners and farmers. The harvest will be donated to a nearby food pantry to feed the hungry.
The garden will represent the vision of a more sustainable, livable City for all New Yorkers, and will contribute to achieving the intents of PlaNYC by 2030.
Sign the petition for People’s Garden NYC at http://peoplesgardennyc.org/petition/