NYC Food Policy Center October 2023 Food Flash

by Emily Solomon

A roundup of food policy topics

What’s Hot: Mandatory Composting in Place in Brooklyn this Month

Mandatory composting began this past month in Brooklyn. This is part of a multi-borough effort to install a global composting pick up program in New York City. Brooklyn is the second borough–following Queens–to be inducted into the program.  Residents are responsible for separating food scraps and yard waste from the rest of their garbage. The New York Times reports that almost anything can be composted, saying, . “Basically, all food, anything that grows in the dirt and a few other items. These can include fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, bread, pasta, cereal, rice, meat, bones, dairy, prepared foods, greasy uncoated paper plates, pizza boxes, leaf and yard waste.”

The goal of the composting program is to fight climate change and enhance the Northeast region’s soil. To learn more about the program or find out how to participate, please see directions here.

Food Policy Center October Recap: Big Apple Crunch! 

On October 26, the Big Apple Crunch, hosted by the Hunter College Food Policy Center, gathered approximately 200 attendees, including students from PS/MS 007 and notable figures such as Qiana Mickie (Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture), Julia Widmann (Sustainability Operations Manager at the Javits Center), Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, Kendall Hough from the NYC Office of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Deputy Borough President Keisha Sutton-James, and Xavier Santiago, Chair of the Manhattan Community Board 11. The event was a celebration of locally grown apples and New York State agriculture, which was highlighted by one student’s heartfelt comment that “If my mom gave me $1000, I would use it to buy the recipe for this applesauce.” 

Attendees enjoyed a range of activities, including apple themed coloring sheets, apple stamping, apple and applesauce tasting. The event’s success and its emphasis on community support were made possible thanks to contributors including the Farm on Foundation; the Hunter College Nutrition Club; New York City Council Member Diana Ayala’s team; New York State Assembly Member,Eddie ; the Edible School Yard; the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture; The Javits Center, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, underlining a commitment to promoting healthful, local food initiatives.

Food Policy Watchdog: California Bans 4 Food Additives

This month California passed a law to ban Red Dye No. 3, Brominated Vegetable Oil, Potassium Bromate, and propylparaben, 4 dangerous additives that are commonly found in ultra-processed foods like candy, baked goods, and soda. Research from the past few decades has proved that these additives are linked to a number of health issues including  cancer and reproductive problems. 

Legislators in New York have proposed a similar statewide ban, and the FDA states that they are re-evaluating Red Dye No.3 and brominated vegetable oil, which could lead to a nationwide ban.  

Quote of the Month:

“Our vision for the Food Box program can be summed up in one word: community. We hope the program can serve as a gathering space and resource for the community much in the way that well-established farmers markets bring people together.”-  Representative from Children’s Aid: Go!Healthy Food Box Program. To read the full interview please click here

Fact Check: Could a tax on meat products help climate change?

While not in place anywhere yet, a tax on cheeseburgers (meat products) has been proposed as a way to fight climate change.

 Americans eat more meat than people in any other country. On average,  a single American consumes 280 pounds of meat a year.To meet its goal of limiting global warming to 15 degrees celsius, the U.S would have to decrease its meat consumption by 82 percent. To do so, commentator Mark Gongloff proposes taxing meat. 

While this may sound like an easy fix, poor consumers will be put at a disadvantage when food shopping. Gongloff points out that, “its effects could easily be offset by giving those households tax rebates and lowering taxes on fruits and vegetables”

While we won’t be seeing a tax on cheeseburgers any time soon, visit Gongloff’s commentary here for more information on the U.S consumption patterns that are delaying our climate change goals. 

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