City Council speaker lays out plan to tackle hunger in NYC

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BROOKLYN -

With over 1 million New Yorkers living "food insecure," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is making several recommendations so that everyone can have access to healthy, affordable food.

Johnson says being "food insecure" means that a person has difficulty at some time during the year accessing enough food due to a lack of resources.

Among Johnson's recommendations is a plan for food governance. Right now, the city has the Office of Food Policy, but he says that is a bare-bones office with minimal authority. Johnson says City Council will consider legislation to empower that office so they can oversee food policy work and develop a citywide food plan.

Also on the list is expanding programs that are already working. This includes Health Bucks, which are coupons low-income New Yorkers can use to buy fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. In schools, Johnson wants to expand deli-style cafeterias, which he says have proved to raise the amount of fruits and vegetables kids are eating.

Finally, Johnson wants to create an Office of Urban Agriculture. Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr. has introduced legislation to do just that.

"This new office will create a plan to protect, expand and improve community gardens, land trusts and urban farm businesses and green groups throughout the city," says Johnson.

Johnson announced his plans at P.S. 89 in Brooklyn Thursday. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released a statement thanking Johnson, saying in part, "Urban farming's a a win-win-win-win for our city. It makes communities healthier and more equitable, reduces our carbon footprint through reduced trucking, enhances local resiliency and beautifies our neighborhoods."

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