Central New York is blessed with abundant, fertile farmland and relatively great obtain to food stuff distribution networks.
Still these assets are underneath some strain, and the area also has pockets and neighborhoods the place inhabitants sometimes have issues getting adequate healthy food stuff.
A new examine and report unveiled nowadays would make suggestions for strengthening the region’s food stuff-linked financial system when also addressing the inequalities in foods entry.
The report, identified as FoodPlanCNY, was commissioned by the Onondaga County Agriculture Council and organized by means of a partnership of area governments and academic institutions and an assist from a fairly new “food systems” team.
“This is additional than a food program — it’s a poverty initiative,” said Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. He joined Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, County Legislature Chairman Dave Knapp and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry President Joannie Mahoney amid other individuals unveiling the report currently at the Central New York Regional Marketplace.
The report’s targets are to help discover techniques to increase the wellbeing of location citizens by way of entry to superior food items and nourishment, make on the existing meals generation and distribution network and assure that the two are realized with regard for the environment, stated lead creator Matthew Potteiger, a landscape architecture professor at the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry.
He noted the town of Syracuse is surrounded by productive farmland. “But considerably of that create, ironically, doesn’t get into metropolis neighborhoods,” he claimed.
The 100-web site report starts off with an assessment of the effects of the food items sector in the regional economic climate. It notes, for example, that Onondaga County has 623 farms that make $178.5 million in once-a-year product sales and one more $158.8 million in financial profit.
But farms and farmland are beneath constant pressure from continuing suburban development, the report notes. Onondaga County experienced 408,934 acres of farmland in 1935. That fell to 365,571 by 2012 and dropped further more to 160,717 by 2017.
The report notes equivalent strains on regional food distribution. Though Syracuse remains an vital food hub in the Northeast, that is challenged by growing countrywide and global elements, these kinds of as large chains, that depend more greatly on prolonged-stance transport.
In the meantime other sections of the report element the troubles of food items entry. It notes, for case in point, that some neighborhoods in the metropolis are more very likely to have an abundance of convenience markets advertising processed meals somewhat than total-services industry with far more healthful (and domestically generated) choices.
A target of the FoodPlanCNY is to get the job done each ends of the technique alongside one another. Making a lot more retailers where farmers and companies can market their food items could also advantage underserved communities.
These are the some of the vital recommendations in the FoodPlanCNY report:
1. Strengthen the “middle” of the food system: Re-establish the infrastructure and capability of regional foodstuff distribution and processing
2. Develop local community-based, healthy food stuff environments: Assistance neighborhood-centered process for making various, resilient food items environments at the county, metropolis, and community levels.
3. Generate balanced, resilient environmental systems: Connection the economic rewards of a regional food program to improving environmental high quality
4. Grow public room and participation in the food technique: Improve accessibility to sources required for a flourishing foodstuff process.
5. Coordinate food items technique tasks, setting up, and coverage.
That very last suggestion incorporates a connect with to help the Syracuse Onondaga Foods Procedure Alliance, which started off in 2019 with a mission that parallels lots of of the FoodPlanCNY aims.
“The partnership (SOFSA) aims to ensure the extensive-phrase viability and vitality of the region’s agricultural sector when concurrently growing access to balanced foodstuff and lowering the prevalence of food stuff insecurity inside of the county,” the SOFSA world-wide-web internet site states.
The FoodPlanCNY report was focused to the late Evan Weissman, a professor at the Syracuse College Section of Diet and Food items Studies in Falk College or university. He died in early 2020 as he and Potteiger were enhancing the report. Weissman also aided start SOFSA.