FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW THE CITY'S FRESH PROGRAM IS CREATING JOBS AND BRINGING HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS TO NEIGHBORHOODS THAT LACK THEM IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, November 27, 2011
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is winding down, and like many of you, I’m still working off Thursday’s turkey dinner, Friday’s turkey sandwich and Saturday’s turkey soup. Feasting is a beloved part of nearly every celebration – but if we want to keep healthy, it’s important to eat right the rest of the year. And here’s how we’re making that easier for every community.
“Three years ago, we identified neighborhoods across our city that lacked something many New Yorkers take for granted: Grocery stores that stock fresh produce and other nutritious foods. Those same neighborhoods also showed a high prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. That was clearly no coincidence. So, working with the City Council, we decided to do something about this serious problem. Using a combination of zoning and financial incentives, we’re bringing down the costs of opening, expanding, and operating grocery stores, which is also creating jobs in these communities.
“Last week, I was in Staten Island for the groundbreaking of one of these new supermarkets – a Key Food store in South Beach. For the neighborhood, this new supermarket won’t just make for healthier eating; it also will produce a healthier economy. That’s because the new Key Food, set to open next year, is expected to create 33 new permanent jobs over the next three years. And the owner has committed to a strong effort to hire local residents for those jobs – good news in a community where unemployment is higher than average.
“This Key Food in Staten Island is the 10th supermarket project underway. The first supermarket already opened its doors in the South Bronx in August. And approval of another four store projects is pending. That’s a total of 14 stores – and together they represent more than $50 million in new private investment throughout the city. They’ll create 450 new fulltime jobs, and retain more than 550 existing jobs, which, during this week of Thanksgiving, is something we should all give thanks for.
“Our supermarket initiative is just one of the steps we’ve taken to increase access to healthier food, especially in communities plagued by poor nutrition. For instance, we’ve licensed more than 500 ‘Green Cart’ produce vendors in communities where opportunities to buy fresh produce have been lacking. We’ve set up gardens in our public schools to help students understand more about where their food comes from. And this year alone, we’ve distributed about $200,000 worth of free Health Bucks coupons to Food Stamp recipients to buy fruit and vegetables at 65 farmers markets across town.
“So while we’re thankful for the blessings and meals of the past week, the greatest gift of all is a long, healthy life. And by increasing the number of options to buy nutritious food, we’re helping make this gift a reality for more New Yorkers than ever before.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening, and have a happy Thanksgiving Sunday.
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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