Food Justice working groups: A summary
In 2010, New York Faith and Justice received a Bronx Health REACH Legacy grant to address food justice as a city-wide issue. The Food, Faith, and Health Disparities Summit brought together 150 participants representing faith organizations, community based organizations, and community members from all five boroughs in New York City. New York Faith and Justice worked with Everyday Democracy, an organization that creates opportunities for civic dialogue, to create a curriculum for the day long summit. Small groups of participants used the curriculum to explore their perspectives on the problems and solutions with food and health disparities in the city. At the end of the day each of the groups convened to identify common themes and strategies. As a result, five working groups were established to carry out Summit recommendations in the areas of the Farm Bill, Incentives to Purchase Healthy Foods, Business Outreach, Food and Voter Education, and Community Engagement. Here’s a video about the Summit: NYC Addresses Food and Health Disparities.
The Farm Bill Working Group is a collaborative effort to educate faith communities and the general public about how the 2012 Food & Farm Bill could end hunger, promote healthy diets, heal the environment, support family farms and support living wage jobs in the food system. They helped organize a conference at Riverside Church this fall that drew more than 150 participants (videos from the event: Faces of the Food System and closing speech by Lisa Sharon Harper). This working group is asking groups to endorse a set of principles that has been developed by the NYC Food and Farm Bill Working group to build support for essential reforms.
The Incentives to Purchase Healthy Foods Working Group is recruiting churches in the Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn to have people fill out a food purchasing survey, which will help inform policy recommendations about ways to help low-income people shop for healthier foods.
The Business Outreach working group is encouraging faith-based organizations and community groups to promote and support improved access to nutritious and affordable food in underserved neighborhoods in New York City, such as by adopting a bodega.
The Food and Voter Education working group works to educate the public on both political leaders’ positions and records on issues of food and health and on upcoming laws, ordinances or government actions that will have an impact on the food system of NYC. In addition, this group works to inform faith communities, schools, and community groups about how they can take personal and organizational responsibility to make healthy food choices. The group is working with Senator Gillibrand’s office to seek support for a pilot nutrition education program in HRA Food Stamp offices in the Bronx.
The Community Engagement working group aims to find creative ways to get faith communities, schools, and community groups engaged in hands-on activities to make NYC neighborhoods more healthy. This could take the form of helping communities start co-ops, community gardens, or band together to develop centralized CSAs.
Contact Kelly Moltzen at kmoltzen (at) institute2000 (dot) org or (212) 633-0800 ext. 1328 to get involved.