3:28 pm Oct. 24, 2011
Great news for urban locavores and sustainable-food advocates: In the 2013 mayor's race, the food industry and its viability in New York City will, apparently, be contested turf.
This morning in Manhattan, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg headlined the city’s first-ever food expo dedicated to connecting immigrant food manufacturers with buyers, wholesalers and brokers. They were joined by a host of other elected officials.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who has been big on this issue, was absent from the confab and, according to his office, not invited.
The mayor’s and speaker’s offices billed the event as an outgrowth, in part, of a report the speaker produced a year ago on the food industry, which was similar to one the borough president produced nearly two years ago on the same topic.
Quinn and Stringer, both west side Democrats, are prospective rivals for the mayoral nomination in 2013. Quinn is widely presumed to be Bloomberg's (and the business community's) choice for mayor.
“Today is the first annual National Food Day,” said Quinn, speaking before a room at Baruch College packed with food purveyors (and potential 2013 voters), like Ambrosial Granola and Aunt Muriel's Mandelbrod. “And I know you can all feel the excitement in the air. But not because it’s Food Day. But because it is almost a year to the day that we released FoodWorks, the City Council’s historic, groundbreaking, I think we can say, ground-to-garbage-can comprehensive look at New York City’s food system.”
Quinn's FoodWorks report, released on November 22, 2010, called for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions involved in food production and distribution, finding new locations in the city for urban gardening, protecting community gardens, facilitating the development of rooftop greenhouses, allocating more money for the state's Farmland Protection Program, redeveloping Hunt's Point , getting the city to buy more of its produce from regional farms, and more.
Those recommendations had also been included in a report put out by Stringer's office nine months earlier, which was called “FoodNYC, a Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System.” That report, in turn, built on a 2009 report from Stringer called “Food in the Public Interest: How Food Holds the Key to Hunger, Health, Jobs and the Environment.”
Quinn’s spokesman, Jamie McShane, emailed to say that Quinn's report “builds upon the efforts of the City Council, Mayor Bloomberg, Public Advocate de Blasio, Borough President Stringer, and others.”
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