Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Food access

Food access

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    Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, middle (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    September 16, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Kathryn Garcia on Trash, Food & Possibly Running for Mayor

    Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who has been tasked with several other key roles by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is stepping down from her post as she considers jumping into the 2021 Democratic primary for Mayor. She joined the show to discuss her tenure at the Department of Sanitation, her work as interim NYCHA CEO and the "COVID-19 food czar,"

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    Mayor de Blasio at a school food hub (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The uncertainty around how New York City public schools will be reopened come September extends to the emergency food initiative greatly expanded by city government during the devastating coronavirus outbreak that led to mass unemployment and food insecurity, as a large portion of the program was using public schools to distribute millions of free meals.

    A part of the massive program that has distributed over 100 million free meals since March will likely shift as students and

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    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 92 -- 70  million, with Kathryn Garcia and Cas Holloway [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

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    70 million is the number of free meals distributed by New York City government since mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. We spoke to key individuals in the public and private

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    Food being prepared during the coronavirus crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, both Democrats, announced new legislation last week that would mandate nutrition standards for the “grab & go” and home delivered meals provided by the city, which have become essential sources of food for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during the coronavirus crisis.

    As unemployment in the city has skyrocketed from 4% to past 14%, children are not attending schools

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    The City continues to try to meet food needs amid the coronavirus crisis (photo: @NYCHRA)


    The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on food access, with unemployment skyrocketing and increasingly more people relying on food assistance, food pantries, and meals provided by the city. Additionally, as New York City is home to many different races, ethnicities, and cultural traditions, concerns have arisen about whether the city’s massive emergency food program, including food delivery, is reflecting that diversity, causing further food stress on communities.

    New

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As New York City continues its struggle as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic fallout, food insecurity continues to plague an increasing number of New Yorkers. Mayor Bill de Blasio has named a “food czar” and instituted a number of initiatives and added spending to attempt to address the problem, with the city giving out more than 10 million free meals in April and expecting to provide even more in

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    Mayor de Blasio holding a food package (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City officials’ recently-released plan for how the city will keep New Yorkers fed during the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis does exactly that: tells us how New Yorkers will be fed. But where it missed the mark altogether is that it lacks any direction as to how it will keep New Yorkers well-fed.

    The lack of consistent access to healthy food, which has been a looming

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    Seniors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 & its social effects (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus, COVID-19, throughout New York City has led to over 11,400 fatalities. One group particularly hard-hit by both the virus and its cumulative social effects has been senior citizens, older adults who often have underlying health conditions and less ability to fight off a serious infection.

    Data provided by the New York City Health Department shows that more than 70% of the

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    De Blasio visits a food pantry in Brooklyn (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As the coronavirus crisis was unfolding in New York City last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio named his sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, as the new “food czar” to lead the implementation of a massive effort to ensure New Yorkers don’t go hungry. With the city already home to over a million “food insecure” people, the scale of the need accelerated quickly as hundreds of thousands of New

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    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As the coronavirus outbreak causes more and more health, social, and economic damage, many New Yorkers need help. Below is a guide to some available resources (please let us know if there’s something we should add).

    For updates from New York City about the pandemic, you can text the word “COVID” to 692-692, or “COVIDESP” to 692-692 for the same notifications in Spanish. 

    Unemployment Insurance
    If you lost your job due to the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout,

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    Meal handouts from school during coronavirus (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    April 1, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Hunger and the Coronavirus Crisis

    joel berg 150Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, joined the show to discuss the city's hunger and food insecurity crisis, which is becoming exponentially worse due to the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout. Berg discussed the

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    Mayor de Blasio serves food (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    As the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has spread in New York, people have begun buying food off the shelves of local supermarkets to prepare for prolonged periods of isolation in the face of the virus. Public schools and senior centers are closing, many of which provide vulnerable New York City residents with food and meals, and tens of thousands of people appear to have already been laid off from their jobs, all leaving New Yorkers increasingly worried about food

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    (photo: New York City Council)


    Food insecurity and hunger, which impact more than one million New Yorkers, don’t exist in a silo; instead, they are often connected to other challenges, like housing, health care, immigration status, domestic violence, and more.

    A new report from the Food Bank For New York City released at the end of last week outlines those intersecting challenges, detailing how the city’s widening wealth gap and rising costs of living, among other trends and hardships many experience, are putting an enormous strain on millions of city

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    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council is set to pass legislation requiring two city agencies to collaborate on a plan to ensure more older New Yorkers who are eligible for food assistance are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps.

    It is one of four bills related to food access passed by the Council’s Committee on the General Welfare during a Monday hearing, just ahead of the full Council meeting on Tuesday where the legislation is expected to

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    Council Speaker Johnson at a food pantry (photo: John McCarten/CityCouncil)


    The City Council is expected to pass a package of food policy legislation on Tuesday, central components of an agenda laid out by Speaker Corey Johnson last August to strengthen relevant governance and food policy planning, while combating inequality and waste in the food supply chain.

    One bill, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, would require the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to develop a ten-year plan to address food access and build a sustainable

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    Speaker Johnson at food policy speech (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council is set to consider a number of bills related to food policy at a hearing Wednesday, including a proposal to codify an Office of Food Policy, a month after Council Speaker Corey Johnson unveiled an expansive food equity plan with the creation of the office at its center.

    The Council’s Committees on General Welfare, Economic Development, and Education will meet at City

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    Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday announced a plan to address hunger and the lack of equitable access to fresh food in New York City, laying out a package of legislative proposals that the Council will consider over the next year.

    Food insecurity — the absence of or insufficient access to affordable, nutritious food  — affected nearly 1 million New Yorkers as of 2017, according to a new City Council report that Johnson released at Cypress Elementary School in East New York. The school

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    Red Hook Houses harvesting (photo via @GreenCityForce)


    In the midst of city-wide controversy surrounding two new zoning proposalsconnected to Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s affordable housing plan, health and housing experts gathered to discuss how zoning could impact something else: food.

    “I

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