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Creating healthy neighborhoods through action and policy change

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Fruits and vegetables displayed outside of a local grocery storeNew York City residents are taking a stand against systems that create limited access to healthy food. Because people of color and low-income residents are disproportionately affected, creating healthy neighborhoods is a considerable interest for South Bronx residents. In October 2010, more than 150 people from all five city boroughs participated in a day-long community conversation at the Food, Faith, and Health Disparities Summit to decide which actions could make their neighborhoods healthier.

Neighborhood residents, community leaders, social justice organizations, and faith institutions are working to change laws that limit the flow of healthy food into poor neighborhoods like the South Bronx. And because of their collective approach to addressing food and health disparities, real change is starting to happen.

Four action teams are connecting residents with elected officials and local businesses, educating the public around the Farm Bill, and developing incentives for people to make healthy food choices.

The teams are also urging citizens to vote for public officials who care about creating a food policy that includes everyone. They have already influenced the Mayor’s office to incorporate food policy into PlaNYC, a long term sustainability plan that affects the entire city. Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, a policy advisor in the Mayor’s office, commented that “there’s no doubt that people across the city who are really concerned about these issues that came and represented their neighborhoods and their local issues were definitely heard and those ideas are definitely represented in PlaNYC.”

We can’t build marketplaces of affordable, fresh food overnight, but these New Yorkers know that they can create the kind of change they want to see in their community. They’re leading a movement to create food security for all residents.

 

Read more stories of communities addressing racial equity.

 

This story is formatted as a one-page printable handout! Use it to inspire community members at your next meeting, or share it with potential funders to show them what's possible.

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September 25, 2013

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.