NYC Food Policy Center November 2023 Food Flash

by Emily Solomon

A roundup of food policy topics

What’s Hot: New York Farms to Receive $16 Million for Climate Support

Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that $16 million of funding is going to reduce the effect of climate change on 116 New York farms as a part of the Climate Resilient Farming Grant Program. 

According to Governor Hochul, the project, whose goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 64,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, is part of the Climate Act, which is slated to decrease all greenhouse gases by 85 percent  between 1990 and 2050. 


The Sweet Truth Act was also signed into law earlier this month. This act will require some New York City chain restaurants to inform customers about added sugars. Restaurants with 15 or more locations are required to add the warning. 

Businesses that do not comply may face a $500 fine come December. The Act is well received by New Yorkers, according to CBS News, as it is a move towards more transparency in menus and food consumption.  

Food Policy Watchdog: Food as Medicine Recap

This past month the NYC Food Policy Center and the Center for Food as Medicine hosted the Food as Medicine Summit: Treating Disease, with panels featuring a number of speakers including Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian (keynote), Congressman Jim McGovern, Dr. Uma Naidoo, Annette Nielsen, Dr. Brenda Ayers, Natasha Pernicka, Dr. Charles Platkin, Alexina Cather, and many more.

The topics discussed included Food and Dietary Supplement Treatment for Depression, What is Food as Medicine?, Food and Cancer: Separating Fact from Fiction, Strategies for Food as Medicine Policy, and Culinary Medicine Training for Healthcare Providers. 

Below are some of the key takeaways from each discussion:

In the Keynote Address, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian mentioned that 50 percent of American adults have a diet-related disease, and interventions such as medically tailored meals can reduce total healthcare costs by 20 percent. In the Depression Treatments panel, the panelists discussed food as a foundational factor of mental health. In the Fireside Chat, What is Food As Medicine?, Dr. Robert Graham stated that the most important foods out there are beans and greens. The Food & Cancer panel centered around lifestyle considerations following cancer diagnoses. Dr. Neil Iyengar indicated that minimally processed, high fiber, plant forward diets are the best course forward after a cancer diagnosis. The Strategies for Food As Medicine Policy paneled opened with Congressman Jim McGovern, who called hunger a “political condition”. Natasha Pernicka added that living wages are a way to end hunger. Dr. Brenda Ayers stressed the importance of looking at food through the lens of equity. The final panel, Culinary Medicine Training for Healthcare Providers, focused on how teaching kitchens can build community & incorporate intersections with climate education, movement, and other determinants of health.

To view the summit in its entirety, please click the link here

Quote of the Month: 

“The experience of the pandemic showed us that when the government invests in meaningful support for families, we can make a positive impact on food security, even during challenging economic times. No child should go hungry in America. The report is a stark reminder of the consequences of shrinking our proven safety net.”  Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, on rising food insecurity within the United States and the USDA’s report on Household Food Security in the United States in 2022.

Fact Check: America’s hunger Crisis at its Peak

The hunger crisis in the United States has continued to skyrocket post pandemic. Food banks across the country relayed to USA Today News this month that since the end of government aid earlier this year, they have seen an increase in families seeking help from food banks, and that the food banks are not receiving more resources to meet  the increased demand. 

This issue is exacerbated by the increased number of Americans living in poverty and the rise of inflation. As of 2022, 12.4 percent (an increase from 7.8% in 2021) of Americans currently live in poverty. USA Today also reports that food banks have had to cut back on what they can source for their clients due to inflated prices. 

Eric Cooper, CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, calls for a strengthened food-stamp program to supplement their work. Cooper said,“”We are not a replacement for SNAP. SNAP is the largest and best anti-hunger program we have in the country.”

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