NYC Food Policy Center September 2022 Food Flash

by Emily Solomon

A roundup of food policy topics

What’s Hot:  Upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health

The White House will be holding a national hunger conference this month. This is the second hunger conference, the first being during the Nixon Administration in 1974. It comes as an immediate response to the increase in food insecurity due to COVID-19. The conference will explore strategies for ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases by 2030.

The conference has 5 key pillars on it’s agenda including: 

  1. To improve food access and affordability: End hunger by making it easier for everyone — including urban, suburban, rural, and Tribal communities — to access and afford food. For example, expand eligibility for and increase participation in food assistance programs and improve transportation to places where food is available.
  2. To integrate nutrition and health: Prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, including disease prevention and management, and ensure that our healthcare system addresses the nutrition needs of all people.
  3. To empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices: Foster environments that enable all people to easily make informed healthy choices, increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy workplace and school policies, and invest in public messaging and education campaigns that are culturally appropriate and resonate with specific communities.
  4. To support physical activity for all: Make it easier for people to be more physically active (in part by ensuring that everyone has access to safe places to be active), increase awareness of the benefits of physical activity, conduct research on and measure physical activity.
  5. To enhance nutrition and food security research: Improve nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities.

The conference will be announcing the White House’s national strategy, which will include steps within the private and public sectors to address the overlapping issues among food, hunger, nutrition, and health.

The conference is highly anticipated because the previous conference resulted in key policies including an expansion of the National School Lunch Program and the Food Stamp Program, Permanent School Breakfast Programs, the launch of a pilot program that eventually became the WIC program, and the first ever dietary guidelines for Americans. 

You can livestream the conference at home by filling out this Public Information Form

Food Policy Watch Dog:

Arsenic Detected and then Retracted in an ongoing tap water investigation in New York City’s Jacob Riis House’s

Earlier this month, arsenic was found in the tap water at the New York Housing Authority’s Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side. The arsenic was discovered after a second test of cloudy water reported by residents of the houses. The first test declared the water was drinkable. While it is not yet known what led authorities to retest the water, the second investigation discovered arsenic, which the first test did not check for. 

Subsequently, however, Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, Inc. announced that there had been a probe in the lab, and arsenic was introduced to the test samples. While this did not reassure residents of the water’s safety, Environmental Monitoring and Technologies confirmed that there was no arsenic in the drinking water at the Jacob Riis Houses.

Mayor Adams has declared that Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, Inc. is unreliable and the city will be suing them for the public health scare. The water at the Jacob Riis Houses was never contaminated and is currently safe to drink

Quote of the Month: 

“What you’re seeing now is people saying enough is enough. We need food in our communities because we see the connection between food and health and we want some type of ownership. We are tired of waiting on corporations to recognize our value as consumers and serve us where we live,” – Liz Abunaw, Owner of Forty Acres Fresh Market in Chicago

Liz Abunaw is part of a growing movement of Black-owned grocers who have taken the food industry into their own hands to meet community needs and uplift Black-Owned and locally sourced brands. While some grocers are exploring ethnic products and innovative shopping methods, others are trying to build stores in places with scarce access to food and help eliminate  food deserts across the country. Abunaw is just one of the many inspiring business owners making waves of change.

Fact Check: You Can Take a Compost Education Class at Any of these NYC-Based Organizations
These 7 organizations in New York City are providing compost education to people of all ages. Their goals are not only to increase farming and agriculture literacy, but to motivate New Yorkers to become involved in the expanding compost programs throughout the city. The more people know about how to participate, the more these programs can expand throughout the city.

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