Ideas of charity and helping our fellow neighbor tend to be more prevalent during the holidays, but in order to make a real difference it has to be a year round effort! Many of us want to lend a hand in some way, but it can be an overwhelming task to decide how to become a change-agent in our neighborhoods.
To assist in making the choice to act, below is a short list of opportunities during the month of May to help you decide how to take the first step and get involved!
When you buy locally grown food (specifically fruits and vegetables) you save money directly, and indirectly. By selling locally the famer avoids incurring the cost of distribution, wholesale and broker mark ups, and in turn can sell to you at direct pricing. Indirectly, you are positively impacting the carbon footprint of that distribution model—for example, trucking your lettuce from the West Coast to your New York based food store. This ultimately saves energy, fuel, labor and transportation costs.
Here are a few ways you can start saving by buying local foods:
On July 2nd, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, announced that, as part of the city-wide effort to fight the obesity epidemic, the City is increasing efforts to improve access to healthy eating. For first time ever, all of city's farmers markets will make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for low-income New Yorkers.
138 Farmers Markets throughout the five boroughs will accept Health Bucks, coupons good for $2 of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, an increase of more than 100 percent from last year’s 65 participating markets. At the 125 markets that accept EBT food stamp participants are provided an extra $2 toward fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent with EBT, Overall, this is expected to amount to more than $350,000 in free fruits and vegetables for low-income New Yorkers this season.
What the passing of the Farm Bill could mean to you…
Every five years, Congress passes a bundle of legislation, commonly called the "Farm Bill" that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008, and expired in 2012. On April 26th, the Senate Committee voted and passed the Bill by a vote of 16-5.
There was a $125 million commitment to bringing healthy food and jobs to underserved areas, which was a victory for national healthy food advocates, and particularly for low-income people and communities of color typically hit first and worst. It will also help to revitalize communities by bringing in new, vibrant, healthy food retail and by creating and preserving quality jobs for local residents. For the first time ever, the bill will officially establish a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) at the US Department of Agriculture.