Municipal Government

Bringing Healthy Food Options to Neighborhoods

November 30, 2011
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

“Three years ago, we identified neighborhoods across our city that lacked something many New Yorkers take for granted: Grocery stores that stock fresh produce and other nutritious foods.  Those same neighborhoods also showed a high prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. That was clearly no coincidence. So, working with the City Council, we decided to do something about this serious problem. Using a combination of zoning and financial incentives, we’re bringing down the costs of opening, expanding, and operating grocery stores, which is also creating jobs in these communities.
“Last week, I was in Staten Island for the groundbreaking of one of these new supermarkets – a Key Food store in South Beach. For the neighborhood, this new supermarket won’t just make for healthier eating; it also will produce a healthier economy. That’s because the new Key Food, set to open next year, is expected to create 33 new permanent jobs over the next three years. And the owner has committed to a strong effort to hire local residents for those jobs – good news in a community where unemployment is higher than average.
“This Key Food in Staten Island is the 10th supermarket project underway. The first supermarket already opened its doors in the South Bronx in August. And approval of another four store projects is pending. That’s a total of 14 stores – and together they represent more than $50 million in new private investment throughout the city. They’ll create 450 new full time jobs, and retain more than 550 existing jobs, which, during this week of Thanksgiving, is something we should all give thanks for.
“Our supermarket initiative is just one of the steps we’ve taken to increase access to healthier food, especially in communities plagued by poor nutrition. For instance, we’ve licensed more than 500 ‘Green Cart’ produce vendors in communities where opportunities to buy fresh produce have been lacking. We’ve set up gardens in our public schools to help students understand more about where their food comes from. And this year alone, we’ve distributed about $200,000 worth of free Health Bucks coupons to Food Stamp recipients to buy fruit and vegetables at 65 farmers markets across town.
(The following  from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s November 27, 2011 radio address was heard on 1010 news)  

November 30, 2011

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