New report: CNY generates tons of food stuff. It also has places of foods scarcity

Central New York is blessed with loaded, fertile farmland and relatively good entry to food distribution networks.

Yet those people belongings are under some strain, and the region also has pockets and neighborhoods exactly where inhabitants at times have trouble locating more than enough healthy foods.

A new review and report produced nowadays will make recommendations for strengthening the region’s meals-associated economic system even though also addressing the inequalities in foods accessibility.

The report, termed FoodPlanCNY, was commissioned by the Onondaga County Agriculture Council and prepared via a partnership of neighborhood governments and educational institutions and an aid from a reasonably new “food systems” team.

“This is much more than a food stuff prepare — it is a poverty initiative,” stated Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. He joined Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, County Legislature Chairman Dave Knapp and SUNY Faculty of Environmental Science and Forestry President Joannie Mahoney among others unveiling the report nowadays at the Central New York Regional Sector.

The report’s objectives are to aid uncover means to strengthen the wellness of location citizens by way of entry to superior meals and nutrition, create on the current food items generation and distribution network and make certain that the two are reached with respect for the environment, reported guide author Matthew Potteiger, a landscape architecture professor at the SUNY Faculty of Environmental Science and Forestry.

He noted the town of Syracuse is surrounded by productive farmland. “But significantly of that make, ironically, does not get into metropolis neighborhoods,” he reported.

The 100-webpage report begins with an evaluation of the effects of the food sector in the nearby overall economy. It notes, for example, that Onondaga County has 623 farms that make $178.5 million in yearly sales and one more $158.8 million in economic reward.

But farms and farmland are under regular tension from continuing suburban development, the report notes. Onondaga County experienced 408,934 acres of farmland in 1935. That fell to 365,571 by 2012 and dropped even more to 160,717 by 2017.

The report notes comparable strains on local food items distribution. Though Syracuse stays an vital meals hub in the Northeast, that is challenged by escalating national and international things, these as significant chains, that rely extra greatly on extensive-stance transport.

Meanwhile other sections of the report depth the concerns of food items entry. It notes, for example, that some neighborhoods in the city are additional probably to have an abundance of convenience marketplaces selling processed foods alternatively than whole-services sector with far more healthful (and regionally manufactured) options.

A purpose of the FoodPlanCNY is to perform each finishes of the process alongside one another. Developing extra stores exactly where farmers and makers can provide their food stuff could also benefit underserved communities.

These are the some of the important tips in the FoodPlanCNY report:

1. Fortify the “middle” of the food items process: Re-construct the infrastructure and potential of regional foodstuff distribution and processing

2. Improve local community-based, healthier foodstuff environments: Help local community-based mostly method for producing varied, resilient food environments at the county, town, and community levels.

3. Develop balanced, resilient environmental techniques: Backlink the economic benefits of a regional foods process to improving environmental top quality

4. Increase public house and participation in the food procedure: Boost obtain to means needed for a thriving food program.

5. Coordinate meals procedure tasks, organizing, and policy.

That last advice consists of a get in touch with to help the Syracuse Onondaga Food items Method Alliance, which started out in 2019 with a mission that parallels numerous of the FoodPlanCNY objectives.

“The partnership (SOFSA) aims to ensure the extensive-term viability and vitality of the region’s agricultural sector although concurrently growing accessibility to healthier food stuff and reducing the prevalence of food stuff insecurity in just the county,” the SOFSA web internet site claims.

The FoodPlanCNY report was devoted to the late Evan Weissman, a professor at the Syracuse College Division of Nutrition and Food items Reports in Falk School. He died in early 2020 as he and Potteiger had been enhancing the report. Weissman also helped start SOFSA.

Browse the full FoodPlanCNY report.

Don Cazentre writes for and The Write-up-Conventional. Attain him at, or observe him at, on Twitter or Fb.