Food is abundant in and around the City of Rochester. There is no excuse for hunger and malnutrition. Local food and agriculture policy can put the power of food security and health in the hands of the people, empowering them with knowledge and resources. How we practice agriculture has huge implications on climate change and encouraging local, sustainable, organic and community-grown food will have an immense positive impact on the City of Rochester and the world.
We support the establishment of an Office of Food Policy that will provide staffing for a Food Policy Council that will have it's main charge be to end hunger and malnutrition in the City of Rochester. It will accomplish this goal by enacting policies to:
- Localize our food system and decentralize agriculture lands, production, and distribution. Support the creation of land trusts for urban farms and encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.
- Promote public education to encourage people to reduce their consumption of animal foods, including information on healthy vegetarian diets in the interests of ecological sustainability, public health, non-violence and alleviating hunger.
- Support the re-zoning of vacant land in the City of Rochester to allow for urban agriculture
- Give preference to the purchase of healthy, local, sustainably produced foods at city events and in city-run institutions.
- Collect municipal food/yard waste so that the City of Rochester can distribute compost that is suitable for use in growing food in urban gardens and has the benefit of trapping in the soil the greenhouse gas, carbon in our atmosphere.
- Promote, support and preserve community gardens in the City of Rochester and at it's institutions.
- Support the work of programs that train youth at city schools and in the community.
- Support the efforts of Foodlink NY to source emergency food supplies from area farms and gardens and to use its infrastructure to facilitate the flow of food into the city.
- Make city owned land available at reasonable rates to people who want to garden or do commercial urban food production.
- Increase the resources of the City Recreation Department and Horticulturalist to support community gardens through workshops, supplies and mutual support.
These above ideas are adapted from the work of Elizabeth Henderson and the Urban Agriculture Working Group.