Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Politics of Food: Stringer Goes Local, Healthy and Democratic!

I'm on the steering committee for the "Politics of Food: A Conference on New York’s Next Policy Challenge" held today at Columbia University and hosted by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Deputy Rose Pierre-Louis and their staff. 

Our teams goal is to create a FOOD CHARTER for New York City, a long-range multi-year plan for food that will drive food policy in the city and embrace health, energy and environmental concerns  as well as leverage land-use policy  to make nutritious, locally grown food available to all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods and institutions regardless of income, race or age. 

A roar of applause for Borough President Stringer who in his remarks went "LOCAL" and called for all of the attendees to “use your experience to start a revolution in regional farming”!!! A standing ovation from this LIGHTHEARTED LOCAVORE.

Keynote speakers included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion, Miquel d'Escoto of the UN General Assembly and New School's Professor Thomas Forster (my teacher and friend). 

There were seven breakout groups, including: 
1. The Importance of Nutrition Education, which I co-moderated with Lynn Fredericks, Family Cook Productions, Fern Gale Estrow and Sabrina Baronberg of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

The other groups included: 
2. From Field to Market: A Blueprint for Food Distribution in New York City, 
3. Finding Healthy Food: Supermarkets, Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and Food Deserts, 
4. Urban Farming: What Does It Look Like? What Makes It Work?, 
5. How Schools, Hospitals, and Other Institutions Can Serve Healthier Meals, 
6. Recession’s Consequences for the Food Safety Net, and 
7. The Urban Food Agenda: Shaping City, State, and Federal Policy.

After the breakouts,  I reported back to the audience of 700 on behalf of the Nutrition Education team. 

Post Conference Materials 
  • A video will be available soon and I'll post it on the site. 
  • READING LIST : includes over 20 documents on food issues in NYC including local food (my favorite is "10 Reasons to Buy Local Food", Found on Council on the Environment of New York City’s Greenmarket website ) AND a range of readings on urban farming,  nutrition education politics and public service campaigns, food disparities and more. 

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