Building a New Food Landscape by Gus Stavroulakis

COVID-19 has exacerbated the unequal access to healthy foods for thousands of New York and U.S. families. But for some living in communities such as the South Bronx, where destructive policy decisions have left its residents isolated and with limited access to healthy foods, food access has been a generational problem. With much focus on the limitations families face with access, attention must be paid to policies that provide families with long-lasting access to good food.

Creating and supporting policies that address systemic issues that have contributed to social inequity is essential to creating a more just society. An environment that improves food distribution in NYC can positively impact thousands of South Bronx and NYC families with limited access to healthy foods. Initiative 2103 -2020 is a policy that can improve food distribution to give families in the South Bronx increased access to food. It will require supermarkets and other food distributors to register with the Department of Sanitation’s food donations web portal and deliver their leftover food products to organizations that engage in emergency food relief efforts in vulnerable communities. Directing these groups to donate their excess food to organizations that distribute food to families in need will lower food waste and allow organizations to reach community members more meaningfully.

It is our role as people to help our neighbors and direct the attention of elected officials to creating policies that reduce waste and provide their constituents with the means to live fuller and healthier lives.

Mount Eden residents pick up fresh produce at one of New Settlement’s Family Wellness Pop-Ups, one of over 20 free-food distributions led at the NS Community Center.