For almost every environmental issue facing our state, there’s an organization working to solve it. From our natural resources to climate change, to food, agriculture, and policy, we are lucky to have a diverse group of nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and grassroots activists who are working to keep New York State and City clean and green.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing a selection of Top 5 lists highlighting the key environmental issues facing New York City or State—from the perspective of these groups. We hope these lists will illustrate not only the diversity of New York, but also the range of viewpoints and priorities in 2014.
Do you have a Top 5 list to share? Email us!
Top 5: Greenmarket
Our first list comes straight from the good folks at Greenmarket, a program of nonprofit GrowNYC which has been working since 1970 to transform our communities through increased access to fresh, local food. The 50+ Greenmarkets throughout the five boroughs are probably the most visible arm of organization, but you should know that they are also responsible for engaging programs like: Greenmarket Co.; the Regional Grains Project, The Fresh Pantry Project; Grow to Learn, and more.
Here are Greenmarket’s Top 5 Priorities for 2014:
- We have a Farm Bill: But the SNAP cuts are a big concern. The reduction of $8.6 billion over the next 10 years will greatly impact NYC as well as our rural neighbors, and not just those that are food insecure. Every food stamp dollar results in $1.79 of economic activity according to the USDA, and when we cut EBT, we cut the dollars spent at other businesses as well.
- FSMA: The Food Safety Modernization Act will likely be hammered out this year, and we will be watching to see how small farms are regulated and particularly how rules around compost, manure and water could impact the environment.
- The real cost of food: Thanks in part to the public discussion of the Farm Bill, Americans are beginning to understand that our food system is deeply subsidized, and that has a direct impact on what we pay at the store. It simply costs more to produce food sustainably.
- Distribution of locally grown wholesale products: Farmers markets can’t feed the world: 99% of our food purchases go through wholesale channels, and it’s imperative that we get regional farmers plugged into this marketplace.
- The 2012 Ag Census: The USDA released the first batch of data on Feb 20, with more to come in May. These results will help us understand how the local food movement has impacted farming. Have we begun to reverse the trend of small family farms going out of business? Are farmers getting younger? The last census was released in 2008 when “local food” was still in its infancy, so it will be exciting to see what impact this movement has had.