Last week, the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy released its first 10-year food policy plan, detailing strategies and goals to address high levels of food insecurity with a focus on racial and economic justice.
Throughout the pandemic, the city has distributed 200 million meals through its GetFoodNYC emergency relief program.
“Food Forward NYC provides a comprehensive and visionary path forward to intentionally create a more equitable, inclusive food environment in the city,” said Kate MacKenzie, director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “This plan is long-term and wide-ranging, the city is partnering inside and outside of government to systematically improve our food system for all New Yorkers.”
The food policy plan was organized with the goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers have choice and multiple ways to access healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food. It’s also focused on driving economic opportunity and good jobs while maintaining a supply chain that is modern, efficient and resilient.
Finally, the plan seeks to ensure that the city’s food is produced, distributed and disposed of sustainably.
Though many of the strategies laid out in the plan fall outside of the city’s control, the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy calls for working together with partners to build a better food system.
“With the pandemic revealing deep inequalities and socioeconomic disparities across race, class and neighborhood in New York city, there is no better time to release our roadmap and long-term vision for a stronger, more equitable food system,” said Melanie Hartzog, the city’s deputy mayor for health and human services.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson launched “Growing Food Equity in New York City” in 2019, a legislative effort to tackle the racial, economic and environmental inequality in the city’s food system.
“The pandemic has only further demonstrated the need for coordinated, long-term planning and action to eliminate the disparities that persist among New Yorkers’ food options, quality and adequacy of food,” he said, “and access to growing land and green spaces.”
Leslie Gordon, president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, said they look forward to partnering with both the public and private sectors to provide food to all neighbors in need.
“Now, because of the pandemic, there’s no looking away from the fact that millions of New Yorkers don’t have enough to eat,” Gordon said. “The fight against hunger in New York City cannot be won alone.”