Today at Columbia University, UFCW Local 1500 took part in a conference presented by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on New York's next policy challenge: "Food Policy" Keynote speakers included Mayor Bloomberg & United Nations General Assembly President H.E. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, while Pat Purcell of Local 1500 served as a co-moderator for the event. The event filled the auditorium at Alfred Lerner Hall with activists, policy makers and community members.
The overall focus of the conference was to gain insight from participants on solutions to solving the growing problem New Yorkers and people throughout the world are facing, access to healthy affordable food. It asked the question why low income areas are facing riveting diabetes and obesity rates. Questions were raised asking, How can supermarkets be retained and improved? Speakers outlined the recent "decay" of the Supermarket industry throughout New York City and stressed the need for more Supermarkets throughout the city.
It seems that government is finally understanding the big picture. Bodega's that inhabit every street corner throughout the five boroughs fail to provide affordable food, not even healthy food. Gourmet Grocery stores provide healthy foods, but at prices no working class person can afford. The lack of supermarkets force people to rely on shopping at Bodega's, 99 cent stores, Fast-Food restaurants and Drug Stores like CVS or Rite-Aid that have poor quality and limited selections of food. This brings us to where we are today:
- Diabetes now affects over 700,000 people in New York City
- 1.1 Million New Yorkers are obese
- 2 Million are overweight
- 3 Million New Yorkers live in neighborhoods with a "high need for grocery stores and supermarkets"
The Politicker also had a write up on the conference here.