Memorandum of Support - A 4368 (Ortiz) / S 2081 (Young)
Amends executive law by adding 14-A New York State Council on Food Policy
The legislation would create a State food policy council to develop comprehensive, coordinated state food policies with the goal of providing a plentiful, accessible, affordable, safe and nutritious food supply, comprised of locally produced foods as much as possible, so that all citizens of the State are able to eat a healthy diet and avoid hunger and have the opportunity to support a vibrant local farm and food economy.
Dozens of programs, located in numerous agencies at the federal, State and local level, attempt to reduce hunger, strengthen local agriculture, and reduce nutrition and health problems. The programs would benefit from increased coordination pursuant to comprehensive food policy planning. The Council would also provide government agency representatives with the opportunity to meet and interact with citizens and each other on food and agricultural policy.
The Council would consist of the Commissioners or Directors of: Health, Agriculture & Markets, Temporary & Disability Assistance, Education, Aging, Children & Family Services, General Services, Economic Development, Labor, Transportation, Environmental Conservation, State Emergency Management, and others the Governor deems appropriate. The Governor would also establish at least three committees of the council on: hunger and food insecurity; nutrition and health; and, agriculture and food industry.
An Advisory Board to the Council of at least 15 members representing the issue areas of agriculture, anti-hunger, nutrition, food businesses, and labor. The Governor would appoint at least 9 members to the Board, the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly two each, and the Minority Leaders of the Senate and the Assembly one each.
Among other activities, the Council would make recommendations of state policies, programs and actions to meet the following goals: reducing and eliminating hunger by providing affordable, nutritious food, from local producers whenever possible; the adoption of diets by New Yorkers that promote health and prevent disease, using foods from local producers whenever possible; increased consumer demand for New York farm and food products; a profitable food producing system which maximizes production of nutritious foods, protects the environment, and provides sufficient income for farm families and farm workers; economic viability for food processing, marketing and distribution industries that support state agriculture; and, increased effectiveness and coordination of food, farm and nutrition programs.
The Hunger Action Network strongly supports this legislation as an important step in reducing hunger among low-income New Yorkers while promoting a sustainable agriculture system for New York.