State Senator Cathy Young (R,I,C - Olean) today announced her appointment to the Statewide Council on Food Policy. The Council was created by Executive Order to coordinate policies to promote Agriculture, Health and Nutrition.
The Council will make recommendations to the Governor on state regulations, legislation and budget proposals regarding food policy to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive inter-agency approach to state food policy issues. The Council will deliver a written annual report to the Governor.
"Experts in nutrition, food security, agriculture, food-based economic development and other similar areas believe that there is a need for a more comprehensive, less disjointed approach to responding to problems related to reducing hunger, strengthening local agriculture, and reducing nutrition and health problems," said Senator Young. "Some programs that target the same problems are developed independently, with different rules and eligibility requirements and little communication."
"For example, nutrition programs and policies are not usually designed in conjunction with agricultural policies which can result in government nutrition programs not taking into consideration the use of locally produced foods. Programs and policies could be developed that will mutually benefit New York agriculture as well as nutrition and the local economy. School meal programs alone bring millions of federal dollars into New York each year but not enough is spent on foods produced locally."
In addition to coordinating food policy, the Council will develop a strategic plan to ensure access to affordable, fresh, healthy, nutritious food and expand agricultural production, especially locally-grown and organically-grown food. The sale of organic food is an emerging market, with more than $13 billion spent on organic food in 2005.