Council Member Rafael Espinal: A Food Difference

by Alexina Cather, MPH
Part of our ongoing Politicians Making a Food Difference series

The Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center is excited to recognize the politicians who are working to make NYC a model for smart, fair food policy. This week we honor the work of Council Member Rafael Espinal.

Name: Rafael Espinal, Jr. [D-NY]

Political Position: New York City Council Member, District 37; Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs, which has jurisdiction over New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, including practices and policies relating to New Yorkers’ consumer rights.

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Educational bio: New York City public schools: P.S. 108, I.S. 302, Franklin K. Lane High School; Queens College.

What he cares about: Health, public safety, consumer affairs, immigration, housing, and buildings

Recent food policy work: Sponsored recently passed legislation (Int. No. 1661-A: A Local Law in relation to requiring the department of city planning, department of small business services, and the department of parks and recreation to develop urban agriculture website) with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to create a citywide plan for urban agriculture and committed $1 million toward the creation of an urban agriculture incubator.

Other food-stuff championed: Introduced a bill that would require the city to create and maintain a website where food donors can post excess or unsellable food that is available for pickup, “Craigslist for food pantries.”

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