Healthy, sustainable food systems are critical to the well-being of our communities and central to our ability to accommodate a growing population. Yet food presents a unique planning challenge; unlike sewers or streets, much of New York City’s food systems infrastructure is privately owned and shaped by the tastes and decisions of millions of individual consumers. These complicated and inter-related subsystems aren’t easily understood or influenced, even by concerted municipal interventions. Furthermore, many of food’s most significant climate and environmental impacts are associated with food production, most of which takes place outside the city, and shaped by federal policy.
Nonetheless, our food systems intersect with several areas addressed by PlaNYC. Improving the distribution and disposal of food within New York City and increasing access to healthy food will not only benefit the environment, it can also have positive public health and economic impacts.
We are developing a multi-faceted strategy to increase access to affordable and healthy foods and reduce environmental and climate impacts of food production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Our strategies to create more sustainable communities will promote access to fresh, healthy food.