In FY 2020, the Council invested $250,000 to create a first-of-its-kind Food Ed Hub at the Tisch Food Center. The Council’s timing could not have been more prescient. The Food Ed Hub has been a key convener during the COVID-19 crisis, hosting virtual meetings to coordinate COVID-19 responses with its Coalition members; sharing food assistance and funding opportunities; conducting research to inform school food policies; and providing tools to support digital food education. However, the City Council failed to renew our funding in FY 2021. Thirty-nine organizations are now calling on the City Council to restore that funding.
The current public health crisis has highlighted the important role that organizations like ours play in children’s diets and made increasingly clear how dangerous diet-related diseases can be. New Yorkers with obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are more vulnerable to COVID-19, meaning that healthy eating should be a top priority. However, for the millions of low-income students no longer able to easily access school meals, healthy eating just got a lot harder. Disparities in health and wealth mean that communities of color have been hit the hardest. And experts predict that school closures “may exacerbate the epidemic of childhood obesity and increase disparities in obesity risk.”
Food and nutrition are key elements of resiliency that New York City can’t afford to neglect. The current crisis presents an opportunity to ramp up resiliency efforts. The City Council should reinstate the funding for the Food Ed Hub to ensure our communities are stronger, safer, and healthier moving forward from this pandemic.
See here for a list of signatories for the FY 22 Food Ed Sign On Letter.