2008-02-27 / Editorials

City Needs Pushcarts

To The Editor:

RE: City Neighborhoods Need Supermarkets, Not Pushcarts (John R. Durso, Op-Ed, Feb. 6, 2008)

There are over 1.1 million New Yorkers who are obese, and over 700,000 with diabetes, and these problems are concentrated in communities where it is hard to purchase fruits and vegetables. That's why in 2007, Mayor Bloomberg created the Food Policy Task Force to promote a coordinated, citywide approach to improving access to healthy food for low-income New Yorkers.

The Green Carts legislation is part of the Task Force's multifaceted approach to combating obesity. Supermarkets, small grocers and carts are all part of the healthy food environment in our city's neighborhoods. We are assisting in the creation of a Supermarket Commission to figure out how to attract and retain supermarkets to the city's neighborhoods. We are also renewing our efforts to encourage bodegas to carry fruits and vegetables and including a stronger neighborhood outreach component.

And we are promoting Green Carts. Pushcarts were an important source of produce for New Yorkers as early as the 1870s. There are hundreds of fruit and vegetable carts operating legally and safely on the streets of New York now (mostly in wealthy neighborhoods in Manhattan). And the Green Cart legislation will bring fresh, affordable produce to the New York neighborhoods that need it the most. Benjamin Thomases Food Policy Coordinator City of New York

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