For organizations, clergy, and chefs: please consider signing on to the NYC Food and Farm Bill Principles and Why We Care document! Go to
We will have a sign-on opportunity for individuals shortly.
Text versions of the two above PDFs are below, followed by a black and white version of the PDFs:
TheFOOD and FARM BILL:
Why New York City Cares
Food and Farm Bill is the single greatest influence on what we eat. It
determines how billions are spent shaping our food system, from producer
to consumer. We, in New York City (NYC), have an enormous stake in the
Food and Farm Bill. Eight million of us spend $30 billion annually on
hunger persists in NYC. An all-time high of 1.84 million NYC residents
rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known
as Food Stamps, and 1.4 million of us rely on emergency food.[ii] One in six of us, including more than 400,000 of our children live in households facing food insecurity.[iii]Many
of us find unhealthy food far more accessible than healthy food. The
nutrition safety net does not meet the needs of our hungry neighbors.
Food and Farm Bills inadequately promote healthy food choices, like
fruits and vegetables. America needs 13 million more acres in fruit and
vegetable production for each of us to meet USDA healthful dietary
Yet, the Food and Farm Bill provides incentives for the production of
processed foods that are high in added sugars (from federally subsidized
corn) and added fats (from federally subsidized soy). The least
healthful calories in the supermarket are the cheapest, in part, because
of federal financing.
bills perpetuate the paradox of chronic hunger and widespread
overweight and obesity. Overweight and obesity are significant risk
factors for adult diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Nearly 25 percent of our children and 67 percent of our adults are
overweight or obese.[v] In New York State, $6.1 billion is spent annually fighting diet-related diseases.[vi]
is also connected to the health of our environment and our economy. Our
current food system is unsustainable. It accounts for about 20 percent
of our national energy consumption and relies heavily on inputs
including chemicals, fossil fuels, and a staggering amount of water.[vii]Unchecked, such practices can degrade our natural resources, eroding our soil and polluting our air and water.
we are dependent on national and international food production, the
relationship between NYC and our regional food shed, particularly in New
York State, is significant. New York State is home to more than 36,000
farms - most of which are small, family farms ranging from one to
99-acres - that generate $5 billion in annual revenue.[viii]
However, this valuable resource is threatened as we lose farmland to
development, especially near cities, and it is difficult to find new
farmers to replace retiring farmers.
relatively small number of corporations increasingly control food
production, availability, and cost. Unsound public policies have
resulted in corporate consolidation of the food chain, making it
increasingly difficult for small and mid-sized farms to continue
federal policies put national food sovereignty at risk: we are losing
farmland and our farmers are fewer and older; our system of production
and distribution is unsustainable; our fruits and vegetables are grown
on land in danger of development; and we import almost as many
agricultural products as we export, all this while our population is
growing. Not only is our own food sovereignty at risk, our policies risk
the food sovereignty of other nations. Around the world, particularly
in the global south, family farmers and local food self-sufficiency are
disappearing, in part, because of their inability to compete with our
subsidized commodity crops.
the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, there is an opportunity to re-evaluate our
farm and food policies, maintaining the most beneficial and, when it
makes good sense, changing others. As a matter of social justice and our
core values, a decided majority of Americans believe that we must
provide an equitable food safety net.[ix]
Despite this, our food safety net is unraveling. While we consider the
role of our federal government, including its relationship to our farms
and our food, we must determine what in the Food and Farm Bill can best
serve the common good.
these ends, the New York City Food and Farm Bill Working Group has
developed five Principles that we hold must be embodied in our nation’s
next Food and Farm Bill: A Health-Focused Food System; An End to Hunger
and Access to Healthy Food; A Level “Plowing” Field; Good Environmental
Stewardship; and Vibrant Regional Farm and Food Economies.
Chittenden, Jessica. “ Survey Says Wholesale Market Good for Farmers,
Consumers.” Department of Agriculture& Markets News. Feb. 9. 2005.
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
“Temporary and Disability Assistance Statistic. Table 16. July 2011.
[iii] New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “NYC Hunger Catastrophe Avoided (For Now).” November 2009. <http://www.nyccah.org/files/AnnualHungerSurveyReport_Nov09.pdf>
American Farmland Trust. “American Farmland Trust Says—The United
States Needs 13 Million More Acres of Fruits and Vegetables to Meet the
RDA”. 2010. <http://www.farmland.org/news/pressreleases/13-Million-More-Acres.asp>
[v] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity/New York. <http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/stateprograms/fundedstates/new_york.html>
New York State Department of Health. “Prevention of Childhood
Overweight and Obesity - Activ8Kids!”. Request for Applications Number
0601261256:4. 2006. <http://www.health.state.ny.us/funding/rfa/0601261256/0601261256.pdf>
Center for Sustainable Systems: University of Michigan. “Life
Cycle-Based Sustainability Indicators for Assessment of the U.S. Food
System”. Report No. CSS00-04. December 2006 <http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/CSS00-04.pdf>
[viii] United States Department of Agriculture. Agriculture in the Classroom, “A Look at New York Agriculture”. July 2010 <http://www.agclassroom.org/kids/stats/newyork.pdf>
Food Research and Action Center. "FRAC Releases New Polling Data
Showing Overwhelming Support for Federal Efforts to End Hunger." Press
Release. December 2010. <http://frac.org/2010/12/frac-releases-new-polling-data-showing-overwhelming-support-for-federal-efforts-to-end-hunger/>
New York CityFOOD and FARM BILL Principles
1 A Health-Focused Food System
and diet-related diseases have reached epidemic proportions. A food
system that focuses on increasing the production and distribution of
healthy foods - including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains - for
consumption in our communities, homes, schools, and institutions will
support the health and well being of us all.
2 An End to Hunger and Access to Healthy Food
hunger is a large and growing problem in our communities, our food
system also contributes to a national obesity epidemic. In accord with
our core American values and our principles of social justice, we must
provide food security for all, including our most vulnerable, the
disadvantaged, the young, and the aged. Ending food insecurity and
hunger by protecting our nation’s nutrition programs and ensuring
equitable access to healthful, sustainably produced food is of paramount
importance. Also of great importance are consumers’ abilities to make
informed, healthy food choices and to access healthy food.
3 A Level “Plowing” Field
face of farming in our nation is changing. Small- and mid-scale family
farms are increasingly struggling against anti-competitive practices,
industry consolidation, and subsidies that tilt the playing field.
Meanwhile, extensive outbreaks of food-borne illnesses are becoming
increasingly common. While the productive capacity of large-scale
agriculture is considerable, so is its capacity to negatively impact our
health, our environment, and the diversity and competitiveness of
agricultural enterprise. Conservation, risk management, access to
credit, and food safety programs often are calibrated to the scales of
“production” agriculture. Restoring competition, promoting fairness,
encouraging decentralization, and developing scale-appropriate programs
will contribute to the future vitality of small- and mid–scale regional,
rural, and urban farm and food enterprises.
4 GoodEnvironmental Stewardship
present agricultural system, which relies heavily on chemicals, fossil
fuels, and a staggering amount of water, is damaging our environment and
our ability to feed ourselves in the future. Conservation priorities
must align with our best interests. To ensure a secure food system today
and well into the future, we must preserve our vital agricultural soil
and water resources, reduce farm and other food-system energy
consumption, and practice sustainable agricultural production methods
that minimize air and water pollution.
5 Vibrant Regional Farm and Food Economies
unemployment and a sluggish economy compound challenges facing those
who labor in the food system, including small- and mid-scale farmers.
Opportunities that create fair wage jobs are key to a strong economy. We
must look to innovative methods to strengthen our regional food systems
as a means to regain economic vitality. We must provide entrepreneurial
opportunities and foster business growth and job creation in rural and
urban production, processing, and distribution. Farm and food strategies
must support beginning and disadvantaged urban and rural farmers, as
well as established farmers facing the challenges of feeding America. By
doing so, we will increase the amount of regionally produced, healthy
food that is available in our communities while we strengthen our
Food and Farm Bill - Why NYC Cares & NYC Principles_B&W.pdf