Kirsten Gillibrand, a U.S. senator from New York, is a well-known food and nutrition advocate who has been generating conversation lately over the lack of availability of healthy foods in local communities. In a tweet posted Sunday, Gillibrand said it was “unacceptable” that communities in New York and across the U.S. don’t have access to healthy foods and fresh fruits and veggies:
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) 10 April 2016
Gillibrand has notoriously been vocal about improving childhood nutrition and has been pushing for more federal funds to combat childhood obesity in New York State (i.e. through healthier school lunches, banning trans fats from school meals, eliminating junk food from schools, etc.)
According to Gillibrand, educating people on how food is grown, and what it means to the environment, is the next step.
Community Gardens: Access to Affordable and Healthy Foods
Access to affordable, healthy foods (i.e. fresh fruits and vegetables) can be difficult for many people to access, especially in low-income or inner-city neighborhoods. Time and money restraints encourage people to purchase pre-packaged foods at grocery stores, which could eventually contribute toward childhood obesity. In attempt to combat this, the City of Los Angeles developed a strategy to help create opportunities for healthy foods to be made accessible to all people—specifically by increasing the number of community gardens where residents can grow fresh fruits and vegetables themselves.
Project planners first looked at neighborhoods that had the highest needs for community gardens; planners then created a map of potential locations for community garden sites across LA. The maps essentially provided an overview of the health disparities that exist in poorer neighborhoods. Project planners were hopeful that community gardens would address the gap in health disparities by providing residents with the opportunity to grow and access healthy, fresh food.
In a corresponding report conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, titled LA Gardens: Mapping to Support a Municipal Strategy for Community Gardens was—community gardens not only improve access to healthy foods, they can promote physical activity and improve the mental health of residents in inner-city neighborhoods.
Kirsten Gillibrand Twitter. 4:05 p.m. – 10 Apr 2016.
“LA Gardens: Mapping to Support a Municipal Strategy for Community Gardens,” USC Spatial Sciences Institute web site; http://spatial.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/LAGardens-Research-Report.pdf, last accessed April 11, 2016.
“Improving Childhood Nutrition,” gillibrand.senate.gov; http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/agenda/improving-childhood-nutrition, last accessed April 11, 2016.