The following text is taken from a recap email sent by the NYC Food Forum. You can view compiled resources from the workshop here.
On October 10, 2014, 150 individuals from 100+ organizations came together to create a shared understanding of equity and explore ways to advance equity that will provide opportunity and benefits to all New York City residents. This workshop explored how we can collectively be more intentional in:
- advancing food policies and practices that are meaningful and target benefits to communities most impacted by inequities; and,
- placing at the center the voices and wisdom of those who have historically been excluded in order to generate solutions and fully contribute as workers, innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs of the food system.
Why Equity Now?
Recent years have seen the rapid emergence and growth of activity within and across New York City’s food system. While these efforts cross multiple sectors and issues, they have tended to be disparate and have not created the comprehensive, systemic change needed to dismantle the deepening racial and economic inequities experienced in many communities across New York City. Further, mounting evidence shows that our food system continues to exacerbate existing gaps in access, health, income, wealth, employment, and opportunity, and alienates and exploits historically marginalized communities.
It is clear we need a new and more effective food system in New York City. It must be driven by equity–just and fair inclusion where all can participate and prosper. Achieving equity requires erasing inequities in both opportunities and outcomes. Equity is about asking ourselves and each other three fundamental questions: Who benefits? Who pays? Who decides?
Beatriz Beckford of Why Hunger moderated a panel, “Food & Equity Leaders Salon: Equity in Action.” This panel was designed to extract the ways in which these individuals and the organizations they represent have taken on equity in a meaningful way, and what that process has looked like.
- Liz Accles, Community Food Advocates
- Daisy Chung, Restaurant Opportunities Center – New York
- Anthony Giancatarino, Center for Social Inclusion
- Javier Lopez, Center for Health Equity, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
- Makani Themba, Praxis Project
- Mark Winston Griffith, Brooklyn Movement Center
After a lunch of tamales prepared by Heleadora Vivar, a local East Harlem street vendor and facilitated through the Street Vendor Project, and salad courtesy of Fairway, participants gathered for World Café discussions and visioning of equity in their own organizations and through the NYC Food Forum.
Barbara Turk, Director of Food Policy, Office the of Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services of New York City, gave closing remarks encouraging the NYCFF to continue in its efforts to pursue a more equitable food system and movement. She reinforced the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to equity and support of efforts like this.
The workshop provided a foundation for moving forward with a new vision, mission and future direction of the NYC Food Forum in creating an equitable food system for New York City.
Workshop organizers pulled together a document of Shared Learning: a selection of resources to understand and advance equity in food systems work, and are currently developing next steps. Sign-up to receive updates about next steps and upcoming events.
We look forward to continuing to hold space for conversations on the principles, policy and practice needed to advance food equity.