For Immediate Release
February 1, 2023
Melissa Grace, Joe Marvilli – email@example.com (212) 720-3471
CITY PLANNING REPORT:
NYC “FRESH” PROGRAM NOW BRINGING FRESH FOOD CLOSE TO 1.2 MILLION NEW YORKERS
Program Opens 30 New Supermarkets Citywide Since 2009, with 21 More in the Pipeline
NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today announced that 30 supermarkets have opened under the City’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (“FRESH”) program, which is now serving 1.2 million New Yorkers that live within a half-mile of a store and previously had few greengrocer options. This citywide program, which launched in 2009, already has an additional 21 FRESH stores in the pipeline, which will serve an additional 300,000 people who currently do not have easy access to fresh food.
“Making New York City healthier and more equitable are two central goals of our administration, and the FRESH program is accomplishing both by bringing greener and healthier supermarket options to 1.2 million New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This program is a perfect example of how our administration is being creative and deploying every tool in our toolbox to promote New Yorkers’ well-being. And by relaunching programs like Groceries 2 Go, our administration is targeting resources to our neighbors who need them most and ensuring everyone in our city can access the food that will provide them with the quality of life they deserve.”
“All New Yorkers deserve to have fresh and healthy food within walking distance of their homes – and FRESH has brought much better food choices to 1.2 million New Yorkers,” said DCP Director Dan Garodnick. “With so many more stores in the queue, we expect that we are just scratching the surface here.”
“Access to healthy food is a human right that should be guaranteed to every New Yorker regardless of their zip code,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “With too many of our residents and families in the Bronx living far away from fresh produce, and unhealthy food items often seen as the only option, we are grateful for the Mayor’s ‘Food Retail Expansion to Support Health,’ or FRESH program that features 30 supermarkets citywide, with an additional 21 on the way. Health is a top priority for my administration and I am grateful to have Mayor Adams, the Department of City Planning and other partners at City Hall who are committed to eliminating hunger and poor health outcomes for our most vulnerable residents.”
“The FRESH program recognizes that easy, equitable access to fresh and nutritious foods is foundational to community health,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure no one struggles to afford and acquire nourishing meals, but I’m glad to have a partner in this effort with Mayor Adams and DCP Director Dan Garodnick. I look forward to continuing to work together to address health inequities through a holistic approach to improving New Yorkers’ overall well-being.”
“For too long, too many Manhattan families struggled to find fresh and healthy produce near where they live. I’m glad to see the FRESH program is helping to right these wrongs by bringing high-quality groceries to our communities in Harlem. I look forward to continuing to work with the Department of City Planning to find more opportunities to eliminate food deserts and create a healthier borough and city for all,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
“The FRESH Program has been a vital part of the critically important effort to get fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods on the tables of Queens families,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I am so pleased that 30 supermarkets have opened so far as part of the program and that 21 more are on the way. My office will continue to work with the Department of City Planning to expand the FRESH program into Queens’ ‘food deserts,’ which have traditionally had limited access to healthy food.”
“Healthy food should be available to everyone and supermarkets are key affordable fresh food access points. I am proud of what the FRESH program has accomplished by incentivizing local supermarkets to offer affordable high-quality fresh foods that promote healthy eating and home preparation,” said Council Member Gale Brewer.
“The City’s FRESH Program strengthens our commitment to expand access to healthy and quality food choices that New Yorkers can bring into their homes and implement into their daily lifestyles,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “As an advocate for health, wellness and a major champion for a healthier Bronx #not62 campaign, NYC programs that enhance our supermarkets with greener options are vital to encouraging residents to lead longer quality lives. This is transformative for our marginalized, underserved communities that widely lack the connection to those fresh, health-conscious privileges. Without equitable access, we cannot, as a community, address health conditions and other issues directly linked to unhealthy food options and poor eating habits. I look forward to initiatives like the FRESH Program becoming the standard citywide.”
FRESH lessens health disparities across NYC by creating opportunities for accessible healthy food in underserved neighborhoods through zoning and tax benefits. The report shows that:
FRESH gives property owners the right to construct slightly larger buildings in mixed residential and commercial districts, and in light manufacturing districts, if they include a FRESH supermarket.
To reach more New Yorkers, the City, with strong support from the City Council, expanded the FRESH zoning incentive to 11 additional underserved communities, from the 20 Community Districts it originally served. Since the program’s expansion, five applications for FRESH supermarkets have been submitted in the newly expanded areas, part of the 21 stores in development. This expansion was a key step to reducing health inequities that were further heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since 2009, the FRESH program has been incentivizing supermarket development in neighborhoods that need increased access to fresh, healthy food for New Yorkers. The FRESH zoning incentive has supported 30 stores to be developed within walking distance of 1.2 million city residents,” said Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture Director Qiana Mickie. “I want to congratulate Director Garodnick and the DCP team on the exciting news that 21 additional FRESH stores are now in the planning stage and will eventually serve 300,000 more New Yorkers. The Office applauds the efforts of FRESH to catalyze the expansion of supermarkets and other food manufacturing opportunities in the city to advance Mayor Adams’ goal of ensuring access to fresh, healthy food for every community in every borough.”
“The FRESH program is a critical step in addressing the long-standing inequity in access to healthy and affordable food in underserved New York communities. Conveniently located supermarkets with affordable, high-quality options ensure all communities can put nutritious food on the table for their families, which can also help to prevent related health disparities,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the Department of City Planning on ensuring neighborhoods across the five boroughs have access to these essential stores and food options.”
“Providing additional greengrocer options in underserved areas is a top priority of our members, and the city’s support of these efforts through the FRESH program has been very helpful. We look forward to continued collaboration with the city to provide more full service grocery store options to more people,” said Jay Peltz, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Food Industry Alliance of New York State.
FRESH was created in response to the citywide study Going to Market, which highlighted the widespread shortage of neighborhood grocery stores providing fresh food options in many New York City communities. The FRESH expansion grew out of a 2018 DCP analysis emphasizing the need to grow the program to more areas.
In 2019, DCP also launched the interactive Supermarket Needs Index to inform communities of nearby grocery stores and supermarkets and show which neighborhoods remain underserved.
Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.
In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.