In the current crisis, all eyes are appropriately on what we can do today to address the immediate multiple threats that COVID-19 poses. But a crisis is a terrible thing to waste and New York food planners, officials and advocates should look for ways to learn lessons and innovate during this crisis. Here are five suggestions:
1. Document changes in food availability and access over the next 6 months to assess vulnerabilities and resilience of our food supply and distribution system.
2. Monitor closely all the institutional food programs (11 city agencies serve food) and assist them to find innovative ways to get healthy food to people in need during the epidemic.
3. Use the pandemic to strengthen the health care system’s capacity to ensure and enhance access to healthy affordable food.
4. Create opportunities to use the crisis to help more New Yorkers to cook food and feed their households at home.
5. Develop new ways to use and pay unemployed food service workers to help feed food insecure or housebound New Yorkers.
By Nicholas Freudenberg, Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute