Press Release in Support of Corey Johnson's Growing Food Equity Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NYC Council Speaker Announces Commitment to Scratch Cooking, Nutrition Education and Gardens for ALL Public School Children
New York, NY August 2, 2019 – Yesterday, at Cypress Hill's P.S. 89, where students grow vegetables in their own greenhouse, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced his holistic agenda for Growing Food Equity in New York City. The NYC Healthy School Food Alliance applauds the Speaker for his comprehensive food policy vision, which ensures that NYC public school children will all have access to scratch-cooked meals, nutrition education and gardens, key NYCHSFA policies which support food justice, healthy food and nutrition for ALL children across New York City.
Nearly one-third of children and youth in the state of New York are obese or overweight. In the state of New York, childhood obesity has tripled within the state over the past three decades. Within NYC, 40% of NYC public school students aged 6 to 12 are overweight or obese. These high rates increase health risks among growing children. In 2016, the direct and indirect costs of chronic diseases as a result of obesity were $1.72 trillion — almost 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
The Speaker’s Growing Equity in New York City food policy agenda is inspiring and unparalleled in its scope and provides the tools necessary to reverse the obesity trajectory in our city, to save the next generation from diet-related disease, and to ensure food equity. It includes proposals to stem hunger, provide for equitable access to food, to reduce food insecurity, to implement Good Food Purchasing, to improve food governance, and to provide access to scratch-cooked healthy school food, nutrition education, urban agriculture and much more.
Three specific NYCHSFA advocacy goals were addressed in the Speaker’s plan—scratch cooking, nutrition education and gardens for all schools.
Under his Growing Equity policy, the Speaker will introduce legislation to require DOE to create a road map to make scratch-cooked meals accessible to every child in public school. "The City should study and create an implementation plan to ensure that every school child has access to scratch-cooked, healthy, delicious, and culturally-appropriate menu items. This requires funding capital upgrades in school kitchens and increasing the SchoolFood budget to purchase fresh foods."
With regard to nutrition education, the Speaker has called for Food-Ed Coordinators at DOE Office of School Wellness: "The City should create Food-Ed Coordinator positions in the Office of School Wellness to align food and nutrition education programming across schools and grades, facilitate professional development, and help integrate wellness with sustainability and other academic subjects. The positions would coordinate with relevant DOE offices and programs related to school food, wellness, sustainability, Garden to Café, and Grow to Learn, and be informed by the Food-Ed Resource Hub."
Finally, with respect to gardens, the Speaker addressed Farming Education for School-Age Children: "The City should support organizations working to expand farming education to school-age children. When children learn how to grow food, they become more conscious and educated about the environment, earth science, nutrition, and healthy eating. Every child should have equitable access to agricultural education."
“We are extremely grateful to Speaker Corey Johnson and to Nadia Johnson, the Speaker's Food Policy Director, for working with us to prioritize the health of all New York City’s children,” says NYCHSFA founder Andrea Strong. “These policies are going to change the way children are fed for generations, and how they learn about food and nutrition, forming healthy habits for a lifetime. We are in beginning stages, but with the Speaker’s vision, we can see a future where children eat real healthy culturally-appropriate food every day.”
About the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance
The NYC Healthy School Food Alliance is an advocacy group made up of parents, doctors, nutritionists, teachers, wellness experts, cafeteria workers, and elected officials committed to revolutionizing school food! We are advocating for four policy changes across all NYC Public Schools:
· Change the Food: Scratch-cooked healthy and culturally-appropriate menus;
· Change the Mindset: Provide every grade with nutrition and culinary education so that kids can make the best choices and understand the power of healthy whole foods;
· Grow the Food: Give kids a connection between the ground and the table by funding gardens at all schools; and
· Increase the Time: None of this matters if kids don’t have the time to eat their lunches. Kids need 30 minutes for lunchtime, enough time to socialize and eat!
The Impact: Change a Child’s Diet, Change their World
· Better grades and school performance
· Increase in good behavior
· Increase in concentration
· Change in long term health prognosis, lowering obesity, lower BMI, diabetes and heart disease
For more information on the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance, please contact Andrea Strong, firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-822-0244.