On September 4, the New York City Council Speaker (and Mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn released an update toFoodWorks, the Council’s food policy platform. The update reviews recent accomplishments and recommends new policies to improve the city’s food system. Here are a handful of highlights, some related to City Council laws, some Council-funded projects run by non-profits, and others initiatives of the Bloomberg Administration:
- Pursuant to Local Law 48 of 2011, which required the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to create an online, public database of vacant city-owned property that includes an assessment for urban agriculture, more than 100 properties have been identified as potentially suitable for food production.
- Local Law 49 of 2011 and the City Planning Department’s 2012 “Zone Green” zoning text amendments waived floor area and height limits for certain rooftop greenhouses, making it easier for building owners to install rooftop farms.
- The New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) green infrastructure grant program has funded the construction of three green roof projects that include food production and education.
- City funding has enabled the number of farmers markets to increase from 120 in 2010 to 136 today.
- The number of Greenmarkets accepting electronic benefits transfer cards for SNAP recipients has increased from 6 in 2006 to 51 (of a total of 54) Greenmarkets and 11 Youth Markets. Greenmarkets now sell $800,000 worth of produce through the EBT program.
- In 2012, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) bought an estimated $25 million worth of regional products, 14% of the City’s total food budget.
- The Department of Education has nearly doubled the number of salad bars in schools, from 586 in 2010 to 1043 this past year.