IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council

 
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
IN NEW YORK CITY
A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
        AUGUST 2019
        NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER

        COREY JOHNSON
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
GROWING FOOD EQUITY IN NEW YORK CITY: A City Council Agenda

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Introduction.................................................................................................................................. 4

 Summary of Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

 Wins and Proposed Recommendations................................................................................8

 Food Governance.......................................................................................................................14

 Hunger...........................................................................................................................................18

 Reducing Food Waste..............................................................................................................34

 Healthy School Food and Nutrition Education.................................................................36

 Equitable Access to Healthy Food.......................................................................................42

 Urban Agriculture......................................................................................................................49

 Conclusion....................................................................................................................................56

 Acknowledgments.....................................................................................................................56

                                                                        A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA              • Growing Food Equity                       3
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
INTRODUCTION
    Food has the power to connect us to the cul-            dissemination of information.4 National labor
    tures of our past and present, to our neighbors,        laws enacted decades ago continue to lack
    our communities, and our earth. In New York             adequate protection for U.S. and migrant farm
    City, one of the richest cities in the world, ev-       workers.5 Single mother-headed households face
    eryone should have equitable access to healthy          significantly greater food insecurity—a lack of
    food, every community should have greater               consistent access to enough food for an active,
    control over their food options, every person           healthy lifestyle6—than single father-headed
    should have enough nutritious food to live a            households (31.6% compared to 21.7%).7 Fur-
    healthy life, and every neighborhood should             ther, gender inequality—from access to land and
    have food businesses that reflect that communi-         credit, to employment and wage discrimination,
    ty’s cultures and diversity.                            to the burden of unpaid caregiving labor—has
                                                            been shown to worsen overall hunger and pover-
    Food is also a fundamental human right, pro-            ty in the U.S.8
    tected under international human rights and
    humanitarian law. Article 25 of the Universal        All low-income people, regardless of race,
    Declaration on Human Rights and Article 11 of
                                   1                     experience food insecurity. In New York City,
    the International Covenant on Economic, Social       structural inequities have contributed to neigh-
    and Cultural Rights recognizes the right to food. 2  borhoods that are predominantly low-income
    Thirty national constitutions also recognize food    communities of color having less access to
    as a human right, including Brazil,
    Costa Rica, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya,                  PROPORTION OF ADULTS LIVING
                                                         BELOW THE POVERTY LINE
    South Africa, Ukraine, and Nepal.3
    As with other fundamental rights,
    the primary responsibility for
    ensuring the right to food lies with
    government.

    In the United States, structural
    inequities can impede this right.
    A person’s race, income, gender,
    age, immigration status, mental
    health condition, physical disabili-
    ty, and more affect the availability
    of food options, the quality and
    adequacy of food, and access to
    land and green spaces. This ineq-
    uity has deep and historical roots
    in government policy, including in
    U.S. federal food and farm poli-
    cies. For example, 93% of Black
    American farmers lost their land
    between 1940 and 1974 due in
    large part to the U.S. Department
    of Agriculture’s (USDA) discrimi-
    natory practices regarding loans,
                                           Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Environment and
    credit, technical assistance, and      Health Data Portal-Poverty, 2013-2017. 7/15/2019. http://nyc.gov/health/tracking

4     Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
PROPORTION OF NON-WHITE ADULTS                                            healthy food and experienc-
                                                                                   ing greater food insecurity and
                                                                                   food-related illnesses (see maps).
                                                                                   These communities have long
                                                                                   been on the front lines combat-
                                                                                   ting an unjust food system that
                                                                                   harms the environment, negative-
                                                                                   ly affects human health, and con-
                                                                                   tributes to economic inequality.9

                                                                                   Food equity involves the just
                                                                                   and fair inclusion of all people in
                                                                                   our food system, and is essential
                                                                                   to building vibrant and resilient
                                                                                   economies and communities.10
                                                                                   In an equitable food system, all
                                                                                   people have adequate access to
                                                                                   food and greater control over the
                                                                                   quality and kinds of food avail-
                                                                                   able in their community.11 This
                                                                                   approach centers on food justice,
                                                                                   a component of environmental
Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Environment and
Health Data Portal- Race, 2013-2017. 7/15/2019 http://nyc.gov/health/tracking
                                                                                   justice in which all communities
                                                                                   share in an equitable distribution
PROPORTION OF RESPONDENTS THAT SOMETIMES/                                          of risks and benefits throughout
     OFTEN DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH FOOD                                                our food system, including how
                                                                                   food is grown, processed, distrib-
                                                                                   uted, accessed, and disposed.12

                                                                                   In order to improve food equity,
                                                                                   we must advocate for changes
                                                                                   at all levels of government. At
                                                                                   the federal level, we must work
                                                                                   to combat the threats to food
                                                                                   justice and food security made
                                                                                   by the Trump Administration.13 As
                                                                                   of 2017, food insecurity impacts
                                                                                   an estimated 1.09 million of the
                                                                                   City’s 8.4 million residents, and
                                                                                   our social safety net is under
                                                                                   increasing federal attack.14 Re-
                                                                                   cently, a proposed rule change to
                                                                                   the USDA’s Supplemental Nutri-
                                                                                   tion Assistance Program (SNAP),
                                                                                   which provides nutrition assis-
                                                                                   tance to eligible low-income in-
                                                                                   dividuals and families, endangers
Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Epiquery: NYC
Interactive Health Data System. Food insecurity, 2017 (Age adjusted). 7/15/2019.   the food security of an additional
https://nyc.gov/health/epiquery

                                                                   A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity         5
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
PROPORTION OF RESPONDENTS WHO DID NOT
    HAVE ANY FRUITS OR VEGETABLES THE PRIOR DAY
                                                                                        NUTRITION,
                                                                                        HEALTH AND
                                                                                        HUNGER INEQUITY
                                                                                        IN NEW YORK CITY

                                                                                        The American Communi-
                                                                                        ty Survey (CHS) is a tele-
                                                                                        phone survey conducted
                                                                                        annually by DOHMH’s
                                                                                        Division of Epidemiology,
                                                                                        Bureau of Epidemiolo-
                                                                                        gy Services. Strata are
                                                                                        defined using the United
                                                                                        Hospital Fund (UHF)
                                                                                        neighborhood designa-
                                                                                        tion, modified slightly for
                                                                                        the addition of new ZIP
                                                                                        codes since UHF's initial
                                                                                        definitions. There are
                                                                                        42 UHF neighborhoods
    Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Epiquery: NYC        in NYC, each defined
    Interactive Health Data System. Fruit/vegetable consumption, 2017 (Age adjusted).   by several adjoining ZIP
    7/15/2019. https://nyc.gov/health/epiquery                                          codes.
          PROPORTION OF RESPONDENTS WHO REPORT                                          According to data from
             EVER BEING TOLD BY A HEALTHCARE                                            the CHS, neigh- bor-
           PROFESSIONAL THAT THEY HAVE DIABETES                                         hoods in the South
                                                                                        Bronx, where the
                                                                                        majority of residents are
                                                                                        low-income and peo-
                                                                                        ple of color, have the
                                                                                        highest proportion of
                                                                                        respondents who are not
                                                                                        regularly eating fruits
                                                                                        and vegetables and are
                                                                                        sometimes/ often hun-
                                                                                        gry and the highest pro-
                                                                                        portion of respondents
                                                                                        who have been told that
                                                                                        they have diabetes. 95%
                                                                                        of adults with diabetes
                                                                                        have type 2 diabetes, a
                                                                                        food-related illness.

                                                                                        Source: Centers for Disease Control
                                                                                        and Preventation, https://www.cdc.
                                                                                        gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html
                                                                                        (last visited July 30, 2019)

    Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Epiquery: NYC
    Interactive Health Data System. Diabetes ever, 2017 (Age adjusted). 7/15/2019.
    https://nyc.gov/health/epiquery

6     Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
estimated 80,000 New Yorkers.15 Recently, the        Furthermore, the State should support the
Trump Administration proposed cutting $220           creation of more processing and distribution
billion from the SNAP budget over the next           facilities and healthy food retail outlets, all of
decade, as well as reforms such as mandating         which could create more jobs while providing
work requirements and replacing cash benefits        New Yorkers with healthier food in our schools,
with a processed food box.16 These proposed          senior centers, colleges, hospitals, and homes.
policies would do nothing to lift people out of      In addition, it is important that the State be
poverty and would actively harm individuals          prepared to mobilize to fill in gaps if proposed
who stand to lose these vital benefits.17            federal cuts to anti-hunger and nutrition assis-
                                                     tance programs come to fruition.
To combat these attacks, we need stronger
food governance at both the local and the State      At the local level, the City Council is committed
level regarding food access, food and farm           to every New Yorker’s right to healthy food. In
businesses, and farm labor rights. The Farm          order to advance food equity and justice, we
Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which finally     need stronger food governance and better
passed the State Legislature in 2019, extends to     school food. We need to increase nutrition and
farm workers the right to collective bargaining,     farming education. We need to end hunger in
a day of rest, workers compensation, unemploy-       higher education. We need to make healthy
ment insurance, and an overtime provision.18         food more accessible to all New Yorkers, re-
Advocates have expressed concerns that the           gardless of where they live. We need more
threshold for overtime is set at 60 hours a week,    support for environmental stewardship and for
and that the law bans worker strikes and work        those greening and growing food in our city.
stoppages or slowdowns.19 The State should           We need more urban agriculture to provide
increase support for farmland and farmers,           healthy food and education to our neighbors
and build upon this recent legislative victory to    while combatting climate change and building
institute even more protections for agricultural     resiliency. We need to reduce food waste. And
workers across New York.                             we need to build community power by incubat-
                                                     ing and supporting hyper-local food economies,
The State should also bolster support for            where residents can have successful food busi-
sustainable agricultural businesses, especially      nesses and neighbors can eat healthily while
among minority and women farmers and                 keeping their food dollars in their neighbor-
ranchers who continue to overcome the impacts        hoods. The proposals outlined in this paper are
of historical discrimination in access to farm-      steps the City can take to make these needs,
land, credit, and other government assistance.       rights, and responsibilities a closer reality.

                                                    A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity         7
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
SUMMARY OF FISCAL                                       updating and creating new indicators and
                                                            data sources. It will also ensure the inclu-
    YEAR 2020 BUDGET                                        sion of denominators for each numerator,
    WINS AND PROPOSED                                       and intended outcomes for each output.
                                                            The legislation will further require geo-
    RECOMMENDATIONS                                         graphical boundaries for data be consid-
                                                            ered at the most granular level possible,
    FOOD GOVERNANCE                                         and create an online portal to help policy-
                                                            makers, academics, and advocates utilize
    •    Improve and Institutionalize the
                                                            food metrics on an ongoing basis.
         Office of Food Policy: The City
         Council will consider legislation to
         establish high-level coordination of the       HUNGER
         City’s food activities through empow-          •   Continue to Support Emergency
         ering and codifying the Mayor’s Office             Food Providers: The City Council has
         of Food Policy as a Charter-mandated               fought and will continue to fight to sup-
         office. The Office should include in-              port food pantries and soup kitchens
         creased resources for staff in order to            across the city.
         lead the development and implemen-
         tation of a citywide food plan, improve             o   After several years of one-time
         management of food metrics data                         allocations and subsequent cuts, in
         and reporting, and expand community                     Fiscal Year 2019, the City Council
         engagement across food system issues,                   successfully advocated to increase
         particularly among low-income com-                      the baseline Emergency Food As-
         munities of color most affected by food                 sistance Program (EFAP) budget to
         inequities. The Office should also work                 $20.2 million, an increase of $8.7
         with communities, and across City agen-                 million from the previous year.
         cies, to identify food justice neighbor-
         hoods and target resources to achieve               o   In Fiscal Year 2020, the Coun-
         access to healthy foods in those areas.                 cil continued funding the Food
                                                                 Access and Benefits initiative at
    •    Create a Multi-Year Food Policy                         $725,000. This initiative supports
         Plan: The City Council will consider                    capacity expansion efforts at food
         legislation to establish a citywide food                pantries citywide through the Food
         plan that brings a strategic framework,                 Bank for New York City; technical
         goal-oriented planning, and coordination                assistance for tax returns for low-in-
         to key areas of the food system, including              come residents; SNAP eligibility
         hunger, nutrition, access to healthy food,              screening; SNAP application and
         food waste, food and farm economies,                    recertification assistance; and
         and urban agriculture and sustainability.               SNAP and emergency food assis-
         The plan would bring cohesion, coordi-                  tance benefits education programs.
         nation, and time-bound targets to food
         policy goals and would be developed                 o   In Fiscal Year 2020, the Council also
         and implemented with multi-stakeholder                  increased funding for the Access
         community engagement.                                   to Healthy Food and Nutritional
                                                                 Education initiative by $1.2 million
    •    Update Local Law 52 of 2011 (Food                       for a total of $2.3 million to support
         Metrics report): The City Council will                  programs that expand access to
         consider legislation to enhance Food Met-               healthy food and improve under-
         rics reporting. The legislation will include            standing of nutrition and whole-

8       Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
some food choices, while engaging              hateful and destructive policy proposals
         communities to make positive                   to expand the circumstances under which
         changes related to food and life-              certain immigrants might be considered
         style to improve health outcomes.              a “public charge,” thereby causing fear-
         This funding supports farmers' mar-            based disenrollment from SNAP.
         kets, youth markets, urban farms,
         community gardens, educational             •   Increased Funding for Senior
         workshops, SNAP outreach, and a                Center and Home Delivered Meals:
         pilot program at the City University           Due to City Council's advocacy, the
         of New York (CUNY) to increase                 New York City Department for the
         food access for students.                      Aging’s (DFTA) budget will include $10
                                                        million in funding for Fiscal Year 2020
     o   Additionally, the Council increased            to address the under-funding of senior
         funding to the Food Pantries initia-           meals. This new allocation will grow to
         tive by $1 million for a total of $5.66        $15 million in Fiscal Year 2021 and the
         million in Fiscal Year 2020. The Food          outyears for senior center congregate
         Pantries initiative provides food to           meals and kitchen staff salaries.
         over 275 food pantries and soup
         kitchen citywide, and supports 25          •   Support Seniors’ Access to SNAP:
         food and hygiene pantries located              The City Council will consider legislation
         in public schools in all five boroughs.        to require DFTA and Human Resources
         This funding is vital for emergency            Administration (HRA) to develop a plan
         food providers large and small.                to identify and enroll isolated seniors
                                                        in SNAP benefits. While DFTA and City
•   Advocate for Expanded Use of                        Meals on Wheels help screen home-
    SNAP: The City Council will advocate                bound elderly New Yorkers for SNAP
    for New York State to pass legislation to           benefits, there are many seniors who
    allow disabled, elderly, and homeless               are not connected to City services and
    SNAP recipients to use their benefits for           unaware of the program.
    hot meals and other prepared foods at
    participating grocery stores, delis, and        •   Advocate for Shorter, More
    restaurants. This would have a clear and            Streamlined SNAP Application
    direct benefit for the thousands of New             Form for Older Adults: The City
    Yorkers who cannot easily cook for them-            Council will advocate for the federal gov-
    selves or have no access to a kitchen.              ernment to approve New York State’s ap-
                                                        plication to create an Elderly Simplified
•   Advocate Against Federal Funding                    Application Process (ESAP), currently op-
    Attacks on Anti-Hunger and Nutri-                   erating in nine states. Under ESAP, older
    tion Programs: The City Council will                citizens can be granted several waivers,
    continue to combat efforts at the feder-            including an extension of the certification
    al level to reduce, limit, and stigmatize           period to 24 months from the current 6-
    vital nutrition programs. This includes             or 12-month time frame; waiving the full
    advocating against any proposed fund-               interview for recertification; and general-
    ing cuts to the Special Supplemental                ly waiving the requirement to verify un-
    Nutrition Program for Women, Infants,               earned income, household size, residen-
    and Children (WIC) and SNAP. This also              cy, and shelter expenses. By streamlining
    encompasses fighting dangerous plans to             the SNAP application process, it will be
    limit SNAP-eligibility, such as the recently        easier for eligible low-income seniors to
    proposed “able bodied adults without                apply for SNAP, thereby increasing their
    dependents” or ABAWD regulations, and               participation in the program.

                                                   A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity      9
IN NEW YORK CITY COREY JOHNSON - AUGUST 2019 - New York City Council
•    Create Food Pantries in Senior                      prepare for further education and careers
      Centers: The City should fund a pilot               in current or emerging professions.
      program to create small food pantries
      at select senior centers to address food        •   Increase City Funding for Health
      insecurity for seniors who are unable to            Bucks: The City should expand funding
      access the city’s network of emergency              for the Health Bucks program to increase
      food pantries. The program will provide             the number of Health Bucks provided to
      an opportunity for seniors to bring food            community-based organizations. Health
      home to cook meals when they are not                Bucks can leverage SNAP benefits and be
      attending a senior center. DFTA senior              used by community organizations to com-
      centers across the city provide congre-             bat hunger, increase nutrition education,
      gate meals to participants, but many                and provide access to healthy food. Cur-
      seniors still struggle to adequately feed           rently, approximately $150,000 in Health
      themselves on a daily basis.                        Bucks is available to these organizations to
                                                          offer as incentives to buy fruits and veg-
 •    Tackle Higher Education Student                     etables at farmers’ markets. This funding
      Hunger: In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget,             should be expanded to meet demand.
      the City Council allocated $1 million
      under the Access to Healthy Food and            •   Increase Awareness of Health
      Nutritional Education initiative to fund            Bucks: The City Council will consider
      a pilot program to increase food access             legislation to require HRA to provide
      to CUNY students experiencing food                  information to SNAP applicants and
      insecurity. Hunger in higher education              recipients about Health Bucks and the
      is a serious problem, with almost half of           locations of farmers’ markets where they
      CUNY students recently surveyed indicat-            may be redeemed, to ensure that more
      ing they were food insecure in the past             SNAP recipients are taking advantage
      month. The City Council will continue to            of the Health Bucks program.
      fight for additional funding to address
                                                      FOOD WASTE
      food insecurity among college students.
                                                      •   Food Waste Prevention Education
 •    Advocate for Expanded Use of
                                                          Campaign: The City should fund a
      SNAP for College Students: The City
                                                          robust educational campaign to raise
      Council will advocate that New York join
                                                          awareness about how residents can con-
      Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois,
                                                          tribute to food waste reduction in their
      and New Jersey in taking state action to
                                                          daily habits. Food waste prevention
      increase college students’ eligibility for
                                                          campaigns provide information to con-
      SNAP. Due to federal law, most able-bod-
                                                          sumers on how much wasted food costs
      ied students who are enrolled in college
                                                          household budgets per year, and on
      at least half-time are not eligible for SNAP
                                                          what small behaviors they can change
      unless they meet certain criteria. How-
                                                          to reduce household food waste.
      ever, states can expand the regulations
      addressing college students’ eligibility        •   Food Waste Prevention Plans: The
      for SNAP to include any program that                City Council will consider legislation to
      qualifies as “career and technical edu-             require City agencies with food procure-
      cation” under the Carl D. Perkins Career            ment contracts to create food waste
      and Technical Education Act of 2006. This           prevention plans. New York City govern-
      could include programs that provide a               ment agencies feed tens of thousands of
      recognized postsecondary credential or              New Yorkers on a daily basis, including
      certificate, or that provide skills needed to       students in our schools, seniors at our

10   Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
senior centers, and patients in our hospi-    •   Increase Awareness of the Summer
    tals. These agencies should take an active        Meals Program: The City Council will
    role in combating food waste. Food waste          consider legislation to build upon Local
    prevention plans should include both              Law 4 of 2018 to require DOE to send
    edible food donation and non-edible or-           targeted information home to fami-
    ganics collection, and identify methods to        lies with the location of their closest
    reduce the amount of surplus food along           Summer Meal Program sites. Although
    with procedures for safe, efficient dona-         summer meals are available to every
    tion. The bill would require each relevant        single person aged 18 and under across
    agency to designate a coordinator to              New York City, reports indicate that the
    oversee implementation of the plan.               program is under-utilized. Awareness of
                                                      the program must be expanded.
HEALTHY SCHOOL FOOD                               •   Summer Companion Meals: The City
AND NUTRITION EDUCATION                               Council will work with the Mayoral Admin-
                                                      istration to launch a pilot program to offer
•   Breakfast in the Classroom: The
                                                      summer companion meals to the Summer
    Mayoral Administration’s Proposed Fiscal
                                                      Meals Program. During the summer, chil-
    Year 2020 budget originally included re-
                                                      dren can get free breakfast and lunch at
    duced funding for Breakfast in the Class-
                                                      hundreds of public schools, parks, pools,
    room by $6 million. However, due to City
                                                      libraries, and New York City Housing Au-
    Council and stakeholder advocacy, the
                                                      thority (NYCHA) locations. Unfortunately,
    adopted budget ultimately restored the
                                                      parents and guardians accompanying
    proposed cut to this important program.
                                                      children to access the Summer Meals
•   Expand Deli-Style Cafeterias: The                 Program may be food insecure too, and
    City should work to expand deli-style             cannot currently receive a free lunch due
    cafeteria redesigns to more middle and            to funding eligibility constraints.
    high schools. In 2017, the Department of
                                                  •   Food-Ed Resource Hub: In the Fiscal
    Education’s (DOE) Office of School Food
                                                      Year 2020 budget, the City Council
    (SchoolFood) introduced new deli-style
                                                      designated $250,000 under the Support
    serving lines and student-friendly seating
                                                      for Educators initiative to fund a Food-
    areas that serve the same school lunch
                                                      Ed Resource Hub based within the Tisch
    foods in more appealing ways. In schools
                                                      Food Center at Teachers College. This
    that have the redesign, there has been
                                                      Hub will provide citywide coordination
    a significant increase in participation,
                                                      for program distribution across schools,
    along with increases in fruit and vegeta-
                                                      convene stakeholders, advocate for
    ble consumption. Expanding deli-style
                                                      policies to support nutrition education,
    cafeterias will mean more of our students
                                                      align program evaluation, and bolster
    are eating a healthy lunch every day.
                                                      efficiencies through shared resources.
•   Scratch-Cooked Menus in Schools:                  The Hub will also provide technical as-
    The City should study and create an               sistance, tools, and training to nutrition
    implementation plan to ensure that                education programs and educators.
    every school child has access to scratch-
                                                  •   Food-Ed Coordinators at DOE
    cooked, healthy, delicious, and cultural-
                                                      Office of School Wellness: The City
    ly-appropriate menu items. This requires
                                                      should create Food-Ed Coordinator
    funding capital upgrades in school
                                                      positions in the Office of School Well-
    kitchens and increasing the SchoolFood
                                                      ness to align food and nutrition educa-
    budget to purchase fresh foods.
                                                      tion programming across schools and

                                                 A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity       11
grades, facilitate professional develop-         creation of neighborhood-scale aware-
      ment, and help integrate wellness with           ness-raising materials for farm-to-city
      sustainability and other academic sub-           projects. It is important that New York-
      jects. The positions would coordinate            ers know about the locations near their
      with relevant DOE offices and programs           homes and workplaces where they can
      related to school food, wellness, sus-           access farm-fresh healthy food and
      tainability, Garden to Café, and Grow to         support local farmers and small food
      Learn, and be informed by the Food-Ed            businesses. The City Council already
      Resource Hub.                                    created an online mapping tool of farm-
                                                       to-city projects around the city, includ-
                                                       ing farmers' markets, CSAs, fresh food
 EQUITABLE ACCESS TO                                   pantries, and food boxes. This legisla-
 HEALTHY FOOD                                          tion would build off that work to make
                                                       sure New Yorkers know where to find
 •    Expand the Food Retail Expansion                 these programs in their neighborhoods.
      to Support Health (FRESH) Eligi-
      bility Areas: The City Council and the       •   Community Food Hub Incubator:
      Department of City Planning (DCP) are            The City should fund a Community
      working to expand the list of areas that         Food Hub Incubator to coordinate in-
      are eligible to receive the FRESH zon-           terested communities to develop more
      ing incentive. These parameters will be          local food businesses and farm-to-city
      identified by a new supermarket needs            food projects. The incubator would help
      index and more closely align with the            build a solidarity economic model that
      areas of highest need. The Council will          supports and connects growers, pro-
      continue to work with DCP planners and           ducers, community food projects, local
      economic experts to develop a pro-               small businesses, and existing infrastruc-
      posal that will include an appropriate           ture assets such as transportation, stor-
      zoning text amendment to improve the             age, and accessible kitchen space. The
      program by the end of 2021, including            incubator could also provide technical
      the expansion of the eligibility area to         assistance, tools, and training; convene
      high-need neighborhoods identified by            stakeholders; and bolster efficiencies
      more recent data on food access.                 through shared resources. The goal of
                                                       the incubator will be to develop com-
 •    Support a Good Food Purchasing                   munity-scale healthy food economies,
      Program: The City Council will con-              thereby increasing equitable access to
      sider legislation to improve and codify          healthy food throughout the city.
      New York City’s Good Food Purchasing
      Program (GFPP). The legislation would        URBAN AGRICULTURE
      also establish a mechanism whereby
      stakeholders in the five GFPP value          •   Establish an Office of Urban
      categories can give input on City food           Agriculture: The City Council will
      purchasing priorities and provide policy         consider legislation creating an Office
      and metrics recommendations. By using            of Urban Agriculture. The Office will
      its economic power, the City can further         view urban growers as climate resilience
      its food policy goals.                           stewards and recognize that parks,
                                                       community gardens, urban farms, and
 •    Local Outreach Materials for Farm-               green roofs are key tools in combatting
      to-City Projects: The City Council               and adapting to climate change. The
      will consider legislation to require the         Office will also ensure that the ecolog-

12   Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
ical, economic, and health benefits of            ing permanence for community
    urban agriculture are given due value in          gardens throughout the city.
    our city planning.
                                                  •   Farming Education for School-Age
•   Create an Urban Agriculture Plan:                 Children: The City should support or-
    The City Council will consider legisla-           ganizations working to expand farming
    tion creating an Urban Agriculture Plan           education to school-age children. When
    coordinated by the Office of Urban                children learn how to grow food, they
    Agriculture. The plan would include               become more conscious and educated
    the following: (i) cataloguing existing           about the environment, earth science,
    and potential urban agriculture spac-             nutrition, and healthy eating. Every child
    es; (ii) classification and prioritization        should have equitable access to agricul-
    of urban agriculture uses; (iii) potential        tural education.
    land use policies to promote the ex-
    pansion of agricultural uses in the city;     •   Adult Urban Agriculture Educa-
    (iv) an analysis of those portions of the         tion: The City should support adult
    zoning resolution, building code, and             urban agriculture training for local
    fire code that merit reconsideration to           low-income residents, including on
    promote urban agriculture; (v) expand-            topics related to urban planting tech-
    ing the availability of healthy food in           niques, food justice, garden and farm
    low-income neighborhoods; (vi) the                planning and design, and small busi-
    integration of urban agriculture into             ness development. Increased educa-
    the City’s conservation and resiliency            tion and training can prepare adults for
    plans; (vii) youth development and                opportunities working in urban agricul-
    education with regard to local food               ture and increase equitable access to
    production; (viii) direct and indirect            healthy foods.
    job creation and impacts from urban           •   Economic Empowerment for
    agriculture production; and (ix) policy           Community Gardeners: The City
    recommendations for ensuring com-                 Council will advocate for the City to
    munity garden protection.                         make it easier for community gardeners
•   Advance Permanence for Commu-                     to earn income from produce grown
    nity Gardens: The City Council will               or education provided on community
    consider legislation to require the Gre-          garden land. Along with their numer-
    enThumb program of the Department                 ous other benefits, community gardens
    of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to collect          should be recognized as economic
    and maintain metrics on the ecological,           development assets for communities.
    resiliency, educational, cultural, health,    •   Create Borough-Based Youth
    and community development value                   Employment Initiatives for Com-
    of community gardens throughout                   munity Gardens: The City Council will
    the city. Additionally, the City should           partner with the Department of Youth
    ensure that the Primary Land Use Tax              and Community Development to create
    Lot Output, or PLUTO, database main-              opportunities within the summer youth
    tained by DCP and the Department                  employment program (SYEP) for young
    of Finance (DOF) no longer classifies             people to work in community gardens.
    community gardens as vacant lots. The             This initiative would increase the alloca-
    City Council will work with DPR and               tion of SYEP slots to community gar-
    DCP to establish strategies for ensur-            dens starting in the summer of 2020.

                                                 A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity     13
FOOD GOVERNANCE                                     utilization of food support programs, and help
                                                     ensure that the meals and snacks procured and
 Our food system affects the lives and wellbe-       served by City contractors and agencies meet
 ing of every New Yorker, and governance of          certain food standards.21 The Coordinator was
 this system should address every segment of         also responsible for convening a food policy
 the food chain, including production, process-      taskforce.22
 ing, distribution, access, and waste. The food
 and agriculture work being done across many         In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio renamed the
 different City agencies continues without a         position as Food Policy Director, located within
 unified, comprehensive food plan with a formal      the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and
 community engagement strategy, or consistent        Human Services and reporting directly to the
 and meaningful tools for measuring the impact       Deputy Mayor.23 This Office, called the Mayor’s
 of City agencies’ efforts to address food issues.   Office of Food Policy (MOFP), states it currently
 Without governance reforms, we are limiting         “works to advance the City’s efforts to increase
 the impact of City interventions to combat the      food security, promote access to and awareness
 social and economic food inequities that mil-       of healthy food, and support economic oppor-
 lions of our city’s residents combat each day.      tunity and environmental sustainability in the
                                                     food system.”24 This includes coordination of
                                                     the interagency food task force and the annual
 OFFICE OF FOOD POLICY
                                                     production of the food metrics report, as re-
 In 2008, under the Bloomberg Administration,        quired by Local Law 52 of 2011.25 The MOFP
 Mayoral Executive Order No. 122 formally            also helped establish and convenes the New
 created the position of Food Policy Coordina-       York City Food Assistance Collaborative, a joint,
 tor within the Office of the Mayor.20 The Coor-     coordinated effort to direct emergency food
 dinator’s role was to develop and coordinate        capacity and food supply equitably to the most
 healthy food initiatives, increase access to and    underserved parts of the city.26

14   Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
Unfortunately, over a decade after its inception,            ering and codifying the Mayor’s Office
this office remains understaffed and under-re-               of Food Policy as a Charter-mandated
sourced. To date, the MOFP has had, at its max-              office. The Office should include in-
imum, three full-time employees. Furthermore,                creased resources for staff in order to
the Office only exists as long as the current and            lead the development and implemen-
future mayors support it, as there is no codifica-           tation of a citywide food plan, improve
tion into law of a Mayoral entity responsible for            management of food metrics data
food system issues.                                          and reporting, and expand community
                                                             engagement across food system issues,
                                                             particularly among low-income com-
Recommendation:
                                                             munities of color most affected by food
•   Improve and Institutionalize the                         inequities. The Office should also work
    Office of Food Policy: The City                          with communities, and across City agen-
    Council will consider legislation to                     cies, to identify food justice neighbor-
    establish high-level coordination of the                 hoods and target resources to achieve
    City’s food activities through empow-                    access to healthy foods in those areas.

    Successful Food Governance : A Case Study
    A best practice in urban food governance is Belo Horizonte, Brazil, which acknowledged its’ citizens
    right to food and the duty of government to guarantee this right in 1993.27 In order to fulfill that
    right, the administration established the Secretariat for Food Policy and Supply, a city agency that
    includes a 20-member council consisting of representatives from other government sectors (munic-
    ipal, state and federal), labor unions, food producers and distributors, consumer groups, research
    institutions, churches, and civil society to advise on the design and implementation of a new food
    system with the explicit mandate to increase access to healthy food for all as a measure of social
    justice.28 The Secretariat developed dozens of innovations to promote the right to food, weaving
    together the interests of farmers and consumers, such as offering local family farmers dozens of
    choice spots of public space on which to sell to urban consumers via “Direct from the Countryside”
    farmer produce stands.29

    Belo Horizonte also pioneered “People’s Restaurants,” government-supported (city-managed and
    administered) restaurants that offer inexpensive ($1 or less) healthy and balanced meals made with
    ingredients purchased from local family farms at subsidized prices, open to all citizens.30 Speaking to
    the concept of “food with dignity,” People’s Restaurants portray the image of a Brazilian pub—some
    of which offer live music on select nights—attracting residents from all socioeconomic backgrounds,
    helping to destigmatize poverty.31 Furthermore, through participatory budgeting, citizens allocated
    municipal resources to ensure investment in traditionally neglected regions, like poor neighbor-
    hoods and rural areas.32 Funded programs included the Green Basket program, which links hospitals,
    restaurants, and other big buyers directly to local, small, organic growers; four agro-ecological cen-
    ters, which supply seeds and seedlings to its other projects and educate the public about eco-friend-
    ly farming techniques; and the promotion of community gardens as well as 40 school gardens, which
    function as "live labs" for teaching science and environmental studies.33

    During the first six years of the food-as-a-right policy, the number of citizens engaging in the city’s
    participatory budgeting process doubled to more than 31,000.34 Moreover, as a result of the policy,
    60% fewer children died in 2009 than 1999; 25% fewer people were in poverty; 75% fewer children
    under the age of five were hospitalized for malnutrition; 40% of the population directly benefited
    from a food security program; and 2 million farms had access to credit, 700,000 of whom had credit
    for the first time in their lives.35

                                                        A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA     • Growing Food Equity       15
FOOD PLAN

 Other major cities – including Los
 Angeles, Chicago, London, and
 Toronto – have developed citywide
 food plans that define food goals and
 strategies and keep implementation
 on track. Each of these plans has its
 own food and agriculture landscape,
 needs, and goals in mind. Although
 New York City has plans with time-
 bound targets on other issues such
 as an end to traffic-related deaths
 (Vision Zero), sending zero waste to landfill by                           lacking clearly-defined goals with the necessary
 2030 (Zero Waste), and reducing greenhouse                                 strategies, funding allocations, and benchmarks
 gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (80 x 50), the                                to reach these goals.
 City currently does not have a food plan.i
                                                                            A comprehensive food plan for New York City
 While OneNYC 2050 – the City’s strategic plan                              could serve to coordinate and guide all City
 released in April 2019 – includes some referenc-                           agencies towards overarching and intercon-
 es to food system issues, these references are in                          nected goals addressing racial, economic, and
 the form of commitments, rather than detailed                              environmental inequity in our food system. Such
 plans to reach specific targets (see box).36 As a                          a plan would create a focal point to identify
 result, a number of New York City’s government                             and address problems and monitor progress,
 interventions regarding food systems issues are                            provide a strategic framework with time-bound

               OneNYC 2050 food system related commitments include:
          •    Expand food manufacturing and distribution (An Inclusive Economy, at page 12),

          •    Decrease the food insecurity rate (An Inclusive Economy, at pages 20 & 28),

          •    Expand GrowNYC's Greenmarkets in low-income neighborhoods (Thriving Neighborhoods,
               at page 8)

          •    Expand healthy food choices through expanding the Health Bucks program, continuing
               nutrition education programs, implementing a Good Food Purchasing Policy to improve food
               and beverages served by City government, updating the New York City Food Standards to
               replace processed meat with healthier proteins, offering plant-based options at public hos-
               pitals and serving vegetarian meals at public schools on Mondays, and continuing the Food
               Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program (Healthy Lives, at pages 8 & 22),

          •    Transition to mandatory organics collection citywide and develop regional organics processing
               capacity to handle one million tons of food and yard waste per year (A Livable Climate, at pag-
               es 19 & 21)

          •    End City purchasing of unnecessary single-use plastic foodware and reduce beef purchasing
               for public schools by 50% (A Livable Climate, at pages 19 & 21)

 i
     Notably, even these existing plans have varying levels of detail regarding how the City will reach each target.

16     Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
targets for achieving identified goals, help pri-      ventions on food issues, the metrics should be
oritize food-related budget needs, and offer a         improved to more successfully monitor progress
common plan in which communities can engage            towards advancing food equity goals. Most of
and mobilize. The food plan should be devel-           the current indicators lack denominators for the
oped through a transparent, multi-stakeholder          total population the sample comes from, which
engagement process that includes meaningful            limits how the indicators can assess the impact
participation from communities most impacted           of the intervention.39 For example, an indicator
by food inequities.                                    reporting on the number of school children
                                                       participating in school lunch means little with-
Recommendation:                                        out understanding the total number of children
                                                       enrolled in public schools each year.40
•   Create a Multi-Year Food Policy
    Plan: The City Council will consider               The food metrics should also better focus on
    legislation to establish a citywide food           outcomes as well as outputs.41 For example,
    plan that brings a strategic frame-                while it’s useful to know how much money the
    work, goal-oriented planning, and                  City allocated for nutrition education at farmers’
    coordination to key areas of the food              markets each year, and how many workshops
    system, including hunger, nutrition,               and cooking demonstrations were held for how
    access to healthy food, food waste,                many participants, understanding the impact
    food and farm economies, and urban                 these programs have on identified goals, such
    agriculture and sustainability. The plan           as fruit and vegetable consumption or food-re-
    would bring cohesion, coordination,                lated health outcomes, would provide addition-
    and time-bound targets to food policy              al value. Further, the geographical presentation
    goals and would be developed and                   of the metrics data is often at the borough-lev-
    implemented with multi-stakeholder                 el, making it difficult to gather a more localized
    community engagement.                              understanding of how neighborhoods compare
                                                       to each other, where problems are most acute,
FOOD METRICS                                           and where greater intervention is thus needed.

As part of former City Council Speaker Chris-          The metrics reporting should also include new
tine Quinn’s FoodWorks initiative, the Council         indicators and data sources, along with an on-
passed Local Law 52 in July 2011, establishing         line platform where food-specific data can be
reporting requirements for many of the City’s          combined with relevant secondary data, such as
food-related initiatives.37 This data is aggregat-     poverty levels and demographics related to gen-
ed by the MOFP into an annual food metrics             der and age. That way, food metrics data could be
report that provides updates on a list of indica-      utilized more broadly by policymakers, academics,
tors, capturing a snapshot of the work agencies        and advocates working to understand and track
are doing within the city’s food system. Such          progress across food issues, demographics, and
information includes the daily number of truck         geographies. Local Law 60 of 2017 requires the
and rail trips to or through Hunts Point Market,       City to, among other things, create an Environ-
the total number of meals served by City agen-         mental Justice Portal on the City’s website with rel-
cies or their contractors, the number of salad         evant maps, data, studies, and information about
bars in public schools and in hospitals, and the       City agencies’ programs.42 A similar tool would
location of each community garden located on           be useful for understanding food equity and
City-owned property.38                                 justice data within more appropriate geographical
                                                       boundaries. Finally, once the Food Plan is created,
While the existing annual reports have provided        food metrics can be aligned to measure progress
some useful insight into a selection of City inter-    towards meeting strategic policy goals.

                                                      A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA   • Growing Food Equity         17
Recommendation:
                                                                      Program, is the cornerstone of the nation’s safety
 •      Update Local Law 52 of 2011 (Food                             net and nutrition assistance programs, assisting
        Metrics report): The City Council will                        millions of eligible low-income people.48 SNAP
        consider legislation to enhance Food Met-                     provides recipients with monthly electronic
        rics reporting. The legislation will include                  benefits that can be used to purchase food at
        updating and creating new indicators and                      authorized retailers.49 Benefit levels for SNAP are
        data sources. It will also ensure the inclu-                  based on criteria including, but not limited to,
        sion of denominators for each numerator,                      household size and income levels.50 On average,
        and intended outcomes for each output.                        SNAP households currently receive an estimated
        The legislation will further require geo-                     $253 a month.51 The average SNAP benefits per
        graphical boundaries for data be consid-                      person is about $126 a month, which is an aver-
        ered at the most granular level possible,                     age of $1.40 per person, per meal.iii52 As of May
        and create an online portal to help policy-                   2019, approximately 1.54 million New Yorkers –
        makers, academics, and advocates utilize                      almost 20% of New York City’s population – re-
        food metrics on an ongoing basis.                             lied on SNAP.53

 HUNGER                                                               In addition to combatting food insecurity, SNAP
                                                                      is an economic driver. According to the U.S.
                                                                      Department of Agriculture (USDA), every dollar
 Hunger has no place in a just, healthy society. No
                                                                      of SNAP spending generates $1.79 of economic
 person in New York City should go hungry; yet the
                                                                      activity, which is more than $5.3 billion in New
 City faces a “meal gap”—the number of miss-
                                                                      York City.54 SNAP supports small businesses
 ing meals that result from insufficient household
                                                                      such as farmers’ markets, green carts, and local
 resources to purchase food—of nearly 208 million
                                                                      grocery stores, and accounts for 10% of all sales
 meals.43 Further, an estimated 1.09 million New
                                                                      of food people buy for their homes.55 Further,
 Yorkers are "food insecure," meaning that they
                                                                      according to the USDA, every $1 billion of
 had difficulty at some time during the year access-
                                                                      SNAP benefits creates 9,000 full-time jobs.56
 ing enough food due to a lack of resources.44 New
 York City’s food insecurity rate is 12% higher than
                                                                      The number of individuals enrolled in SNAP in
 the national rate, and 21% higher than New York
                                                                      New York City has been declining since 2013,
 State's.45 While New York City’s current rate of food
                                                                      similar to SNAP enrollment trends across the
 insecurity is declining, it is still higher than prior to
                                                                      country.57 According to the Human Resources
 the 2008 recession.ii46 From 2015-2017, 18% of all
                                                                      Administration (HRA), the agency responsible
 children, almost 9% of working adults, and almost
                                                                      for administering public assistance benefits
 11% of seniors experienced food insecurity.47
                                                                      in New York City, the SNAP participation rate
                                                                      has decreased from 77% in 2013 to 70.9% in
 FOOD ASSISTANCE                                                      2017.58 Such a decline is expected as the local
 PROGRAMS: SNAP & EFAP                                                economy improves.59 Additionally, HRA notes
                                                                      that despite the decline, SNAP participation
 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program                        rates in New York City are higher than the rates
 (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp                             of the U.S. and New York State overall.iv60

 ii
    According to Hunger Free America, the food insecurity rates are as follows: 2015-17 (12.5%), 2012-14 (16.9%), 2005-07 (12.1%).
 iii
    This is based on a households gross monthly income, which generally must be at or below 130% of the poverty line; net income, which
 must be at or below the poverty line; and assets, which must fall below $2,250 for households without an elderly or disabled member and
 below $3,500 for those with such a member.
 iv
    According to HRA, the SNAP participation rates should not be compared to the state and national rates released by the federal govern-
 ment but instead using the Program Access Index (PAI), which is calculated by dividing the SNAP caseload by the number of people below
 125% of the federal poverty line. Based on this metric, the NYC PAI was 85%, compared to 73% in the U.S. and 81% in New York State.

18     Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
PROPORTION OF HOUSEHOLDS RECEIVING SNAP
                                                                                                           SNAP DATA

                                                                                                           The map shows
                                                                                                           the percent of
                                                                                                           households
                                                                                                           receiving SNAP
                                                                                                           by census tract.
                                                                                                           Areas in grey
                                                                                                           indicate that
                                                                                                           the population
                                                                                                           was too small
                                                                                                           to draw an
                                                                                                           estimate.

                                                                                                           While overall
                                                                                                           SNAP utili-
                                                                                                           zation has
                                                                                                           decreased over
                                                                                                           time, SNAP
                                                                                                           utilization
                                                                                                           remains high in
                                                                                                           many parts of
                                                                                                           the city.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey, 2017 American Community Survey
1-Year Estimates, Table S2201; generated by Brook Frye; using American FactFinder; (18 July 2019).

                       SNAP PARTICIPATION OVER TIME
                                                                                                                 Source: U.S.
                                                                                                                 Census Bureau;
                                                                                                                 American Com-
                                                                                                                 munity Survey,
                                                                                                                 2010-2018 Amer-
                                                                                                                 ican Community
                                                                                                                 Survey 1-Year
                                                                                                                 Estimates, Table
                                                                                                                 S2201; generated
                                                                                                                 by Brook Frye;
                                                                                                                 using American
                                                                                                                 FactFinder; (18
                                                                                                                 July 2019).

                                                                   A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA             • Growing Food Equity          19
HOW TO APPLY FOR SNAP
       In recent years, New York City has taken steps to improve the SNAP application and recertifi-
       cation process. Currently, New Yorkers can apply for benefits online through ACCESS HRA, a
       website that allows individuals to receive information and apply for benefits. SNAP applications
       can also be downloaded, mailed to applicants by calling the HRA Infoline at 718-557-1399 to
       request an application, or picked up at an HRA SNAP Center, where applicants can also submit
       their applications. After submitting an application, clients can call HRA to complete their inter-
       view and recertification.
       Source: NYC Human Resources Administration, SNAP Benefits & Food Program, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/
       snap-benefits-food-program.page.

 Despite the importance of SNAP, the benefit
 levels are often insufficient to meet a house-
 hold’s needs. According to the Food Bank for                                  Restaurant Meals Program:
 New York City, SNAP only covers approximate-
                                                                          •    Some disabled, elderly, or home-
 ly 39 meals per month.61 Because of the inad-                                 less SNAP recipients cannot
 equacy of SNAP, emergency food assistance is                                  easily cook meals or do not have
 an important tool in the fight against hunger.                                access to needed kitchen facil-
                                                                               ities. For example, as of April
 HRA, through the Emergency Food Assistance                                    2019, the Department of Home-
 Program (EFAP), administers funding and                                       less Services (DHS) was sheltering
 coordinates the distribution of shelf-stable                                  about 11,200 individuals in com-
 food to more than 500 food pantries and soup                                  mercial hotels, many of which do
 kitchens citywide.65 In Fiscal Year 2018, EFAP                                not have kitchen facilities. While
 distributed more than 17.56 million pounds of                                 DHS provides meals to these indi-
 food, and HRA expects this to grow to approx-                                 viduals, due to the lack of kitchen
 imately 20 million pounds of food during Fiscal                               facilities these individuals can
 Year 2019.66                                                                  only use their SNAP benefits on
                                                                               limited items that do not require
 In Fiscal Year 2019, the Council successfully                                 cooking. Allowing SNAP benefits
 negotiated an $8.7 million increase in EFAP                                   to be used on prepared foods
 funding from the City for a total of $20.2                                    would give people the choice and
 million for Fiscal Year 2019 and the outyears.                                flexibility around how to use their
 This baselined funding amount is comprised of                                 benefits to feed themselves and
 $17.3 million in City tax-levy and the remaining                              their families. Currently in New
 $2.9 million is federally funded. In addition,                                York State, SNAP recipients can-
                                                                               not use their benefits to purchase
 through three food initiatives, the Council
                                                                               prepared foods. However, any
 allotted another $8.6 million in Fiscal Year
                                                                               state can allow for the purchase
 2020 to support critical programs that assist
                                                                               of prepared food by opting into
 low-income New Yorkers to access food and
                                                                               the Restaurant Meals Program
 federal benefits, as well as increase awareness
                                                                               authorized under the 1977 Farm
 of healthy food options and nutrition.67
                                                                               Bill.62 Currently Illinois,63 Arizona,
                                                                               11 counties in California and one
 The need for food pantries and emergency                                      county in Rhode Island partici-
 food has continued to grow in recent years,                                   pate in the program.64
 despite an improving economy. According to

20   Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
a 2018 survey by Hunger Free America, New                               In addition to feeding the hungry, emergency
York City food pantries and soup kitchens fed                           food providers also serve a key role in
5% more people in 2018 than the previous                                connecting New Yorkers to benefits. Pursuant
year, compared to annual increases of 6% in                             to Local Law 80 of 2005, all City-funded
2017, 9% in 2016 and 5% in 2015.68 Another                              emergency food programs must distribute
survey by the Food Bank for New York indi-                              “applications for the food stamp program.”72
cates that since funding for SNAP benefits                              According to the July 2019 report on Local Law
was cut in 2013,v69 80% of emergency food                               80, 545 emergency food programs in the EFAP
providers in New York City have seen elevated                           network provide SNAP outreach services, with
traffic and 40% reported the number of visitors                         some pantries and soup kitchens providing
increased by more than half.70 Additionally,                            additional services including SNAP eligibility
the survey notes that over half of soup kitch-                          prescreening and assistance with the SNAP
ens and food pantries reported running out of                           application process.73 Many emergency food
food, and 29% reported turning people away                              providers also provide individuals with free
because of a lack of food.71                                            income tax assistance services.74

v
  In order to help offset the economic downturn, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was passed in 2009 and included
a temporary increase in federal funding for the SNAP program. Specifically, ARRA’s investment in the SNAP program: (i) increased the
maximum benefit level by 13.6%, (ii) eased eligibility requirements for childless adults without jobs, and (iii) provided additional funding
to state agencies responsible for administering the program. Prior to ARRA, benefits were indexed for food price inflation every year.
ARRA replaced the inflation indexing with an across-the-board increase in benefits. According to the USDA, “households of four expe-
rienced a maximum increase in benefits of $80 per month.” On November 1, 2013, ARRA funding for SNAP expired, which resulted in a
decrease in benefits for all SNAP recipients.

                                                                      A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA            • Growing Food Equity                   21
EMERGENCY FOOD - TERMINOLOGY

      •    Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP): A City program that provides
           monthly, pre-cut food orders to the Food Bank for New York City, which then distributes the
           items to food pantries and soup kitchens citywide. There are over 400 pantries and 100 soup
           kitchens in the EFAP network.

      •    Food Bank: A non-profit entity that stores food items to be delivered to emergency food
           providers, like food pantries. Food Bank for New York City, the city’s largest hunger-relief
           organization, annually distributes approximately 58 million meals per year to New Yorkers.
           Since 1983, it has provided more than 1.2 billion meals.

      •    Food Pantry: A distribution center where individuals and families can receive food. Pan-
           tries can be housed in a variety of locations including schools, houses of worship, community
           centers, or mobile vans.

      •    Soup Kitchen: An organization that provides prepared meals to individuals. Similar to
           food pantries, soup kitchens are housed in a variety of locations and can be mobile, bringing
           prepared food directly to those in need.

           Sources: Food Bank for New York City, Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP); Feeding America, What is the
           difference between a food bank and food pantry?

 FISCAL YEAR 2020 BUDGET                                                     screening; SNAP application and
 WINS & RECOMMENDATIONS:                                                     recertification assistance; and
                                                                             SNAP and emergency food assis-
 •    Continue to Support Emergency                                          tance benefits education programs.
      Food Providers: The City Council has
      fought, and will continue to fight to sup-                         o   In Fiscal Year 2020, the Council also
      port food pantries and soup kitchens                                   increased funding for the Access to
      across the city.                                                       Healthy Food and Nutritional Edu-
                                                                             cation initiative by $1.2 million for a
       o   After several years of one-time                                   total of $2.3 million to support pro-
           allocations and subsequent cuts, in                               grams that expand access to healthy
           Fiscal Year 2019, the City Council                                food and improve understanding of
           successfully advocated to increase                                nutrition and wholesome food choic-
           the baseline Emergency Food As-                                   es, while engaging communities to
           sistance Program (EFAP) budget to                                 make positive changes related to
           $20.2 million, an increase of $8.7                                food and lifestyle to improve health
           million from the previous year.                                   outcomes. This funding supports
                                                                             farmers' markets, youth markets,
       o   In Fiscal Year 2020, the Coun-
                                                                             urban farms, community gardens,
           cil continued funding the Food
                                                                             educational workshops, SNAP
           Access and Benefits initiative at
                                                                             outreach, and a pilot program at the
           $725,000. This initiative supports
                                                                             City University of New York’s (CUNY)
           capacity expansion efforts at food
                                                                             to increase food access for students.
           pantries citywide through the Food
           Bank for New York City; technical                             o   Additionally, the Council increased
           assistance for tax returns for low-in-                            funding to the Food Pantries
           come residents; SNAP eligibility                                  initiative by $1 million for a to-

22   Growing Food Equity • A CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
You can also read