Second Round Brings Total Invested in Food Access in Central Brooklyn to $1.825 Million
Program Will Fund Additional Mobile Markets in Central Brooklyn, Tripling the Number of Residents Served
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $500,000 in funding to support the second round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, which was launched last year as part of the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative. The program funds mobile farmers' markets and food pantries supplying fresh produce and other foods to increase food access and address chronic food insecurity for residents in Central Brooklyn communities.
"New York has made it a priority to ensure local communities have the ability to purchase fresh, local foods and the support they need to lead healthy lifestyles," Governor Cuomo said. "Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, we are bridging the gaps in our food system, particularly in underserved neighborhoods like Central Brooklyn. We have doubled access to fresh fruit and vegetable services through the mobile markets program so far and we are working to triple our reach to residents through this new grant opportunity."
"The Vital Brooklyn initiative is working to address disparities with investments in affordable housing, health care, and access to healthy foods," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Expanding the availability of fruits and vegetables is important to promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyles. This funding will provide additional mobile markets in Central Brooklyn, ensuring improved food distribution in the community. We are working hard to turn around the economic, social, and health injustices residents face to enhance their overall quality of life."
Mobile food access units are an important means for reaching those most in need of fresh, healthy food. Establishing mobile markets is more flexible and less expensive than constructing and operating full-scale grocery stores or new food pantries. They can also serve multiple neighborhoods and better reach people who have limited mobility. Through round two of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, the State expects to add five additional market locations and triple the number of residents served in Central Brooklyn.
Currently, eight of the 10 community districts facing the highest rates of food insecurity in Brooklyn and the fastest growing rates of food insecurity in the city are in Central Brooklyn. An analysis has shown that low income residents in Brooklyn may travel three times further to access groceries than higher income residents.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is currently accepting Requests for Proposals for the Mobile Markets Grant Program. Eligible not-for-profit organizations operating mobile farmers' markets or serving as mobile emergency food providers are encouraged to apply through the New York State Grants Gateway at www.grantsgateway.ny.gov. Eligible projects will establish or expand mobile farmers' markets or mobile emergency food providers carrying fresh, locally sourced food for distribution in Central Brooklyn. The application deadline is Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Through the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative, we can make a significant impact on the Central Brooklyn community by ensuring its residents are able to easily purchase healthy foods at convenient locations year-round."
Senator Roxanne Persaud said, "Our eating habits set the tone for our entire day, affecting our work, school, and overall productivity. By providing greater access to healthy foods, we not only help our community members get the nutrition they need to stay healthy, but we can also help them to stay on track as they go about their daily lives. I thank Governor Cuomo for securing another round of funding for the Mobile Markets Grant Program that helps our neighbors eat well and thrive."
Senator Zellnor Myrie said, "Everyone needs healthy food to live a healthy life. This program helps ensure that fresh and healthy food is available to everyone, regardless of their zip code or mobility, and I'm proud to see it expand in our community."
Assembly Member N. Nick Perry said, "Since its launch, the Vital Brooklyn initiative has ensured the next generation of Brooklynites has the necessary resources to achieve equal access to nutritious food and a healthier lifestyle. Much of the credit of course goes to the mobile food markets supported by the initiative. For my constituents, I thank the Governor and applaud him for his commitment to sustaining these community markets which promote a healthy lifestyle for all."
Assembly Member Maritza Davila said, "Food insecurity is still a critical issue across our community. I commend Governor Cuomo for bolstering the Mobile Markets Grant Program with additional funding to provide healthy foods to more Brooklyn residents in need and for all of his work on the Vital Brooklyn initiative."
Assembly Member Latrice Walker said, "I applaud the Governor for beginning the second round of the Vital Brooklyn initiative's Mobile Markets Grants. I hope to see the heightened participation and awardees from local organizations that have worked tirelessly to provide quality, nutritious meals to our neighborhoods. This funding is another step in the right direction to expand their efforts increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy food options in the 55th Assembly District."
Assembly Member Diana C. Richardson said, "Every New Yorker deserves access to a wholesome, balanced diet and I want to thank the Governor for addressing chronic food disparities and for his continued commitment to improving the lives of all residents in Brooklyn. The Vital Brooklyn initiative has served our most disadvantaged residents and the additional funding for mobile food access units is welcome news for both the residents and the local organizations that help to bring hearty foods from the farms to our tables."
Assembly Member Tremaine Wright said, "The Vital Brooklyn initiative has been remarkably effective at addressing the chronic health disparities in some of our neighborhoods. I am pleased to learn the initiative's Mobile Markets Grant Program will grow this year so that participating organizations, such as The Campaign Against Hunger right here in Bed-Stuy, can enable even more of our residents access fresh, healthy food. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for your leadership and commitment to Brooklyn."
Assembly Member Jaime R. Williams said, "A well-rounded, healthy meal is something that every New Yorker deserves and a zip code or neighborhood should not dictate one's access to fresh food. I applaud the Governor for securing another round of funding for the Vital Brooklyn initiative's Mobile Markets Grant Program and for his ongoing support to make our borough stronger and healthier than ever."
In August 2018, five organizations were collectively awarded approximately $500,000 in funding through the first round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program. These organizations have expanded an existing or implemented a new mobile market program to serve Central Brooklyn neighborhoods. All of the round one mobile market locations will be in operation by July. The recipients and their coverage area include:
- City Harvest, serving communities in Fort Greene, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, East New York and Flatbush.
- Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, serving communities in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, East New York, East Flatbush and Canarsie
- Council on the Environment Inc., serving communities in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Brownsville, Cypress Hills and Flatbush.
- United Community Centers, Inc., serving communities in East New York, Canarsie, East Flatbush and Brownsville.
- Food Bank for New York City, serving communities in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Canarsie.
The Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative is a new holistic initiative that focuses on eight integrated areas of improvement, including healthy food. Vital Brooklyn serves the following Central Brooklyn neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant; Brownsville; Bushwick; Canarsie; Crown Heights; Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill; East Flatbush; East New York; Prospect Heights; and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
Since the launch of Vital Brooklyn, New York State has invested $1.825 million and launched new programs and initiatives to increase access to nutritious food in Central New York, including the mobile markets program, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens, and a food distribution hub siting study.