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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Mayor Adams Unveils Food Education Roadmap to Promote Healthier School Communities Across New York City

Roadmap Provides Comprehensive Approach to Food Education, Ensuring Students Have Tools and Knowledge to Lead Healthy Lifestyles 

Builds on Transformative Steps Mayor Adams Has Taken to Improve Student Health, Including Plant-Powered Fridays and Expansion of Cafeteria Enhancement Experience

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks, and Mayor’s Office of Food Policy (MOFP) Executive Director Kate MacKenzie on Tuesday, June 6, unveiled “Prioritizing Food Education in Our Public Schools: A Path to Developing a Healthy Next Generation” — a comprehensive roadmap to improving food education in New York City’s public school system. The report identifies specific goals, strategies, and key performance indicators that will ensure students across the city learn healthy eating habits, and how each component of our food system interacts with the climate, economy, and local community.

“New York City is leading the way in healthy food, eating, and lifestyles — and I am proud to announce the next step in our journey: New York City’s first ever food education roadmap,” said Mayor Adams. “I know the power of healthy eating firsthand: Switching to a plant-based diet reversed the effects of my type 2 diabetes and saved my eyesight. With this roadmap, we’re going to teach our children how to eat better — building healthier schools, healthier communities, and a healthier city for all New Yorkers.”

“New York City public schools are national leaders in public education, including and especially in nutrition and meal services. We are proud of the work we’ve done so far to expand options for our young people, and I am thrilled to be embarking on this next step to further help educate students on healthy eating habits that they will take with them throughout their lives,” said DOE Chancellor Banks. “I’m grateful to Mayor Adams for prioritizing this work to ensure a healthier future for our communities.”

The report released recently highlights the critical importance of food education in building lifelong healthy habits, and helping students become better learners. Healthy eating habits are associated with a myriad of health benefits and reduce the risk of developing chronic diet-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. They are also associated with higher cognitive functioning, reduced absenteeism, improved mood, and stronger academic performance.
The report identifies three goals for improving food education across all New York City public schools:

  • Helping students build knowledge about healthy eating and wellness;
  • Providing greater access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate meals in schools; and
  • Empowering members of school communities, including parents, educators, food service workers, and administrators, to be wellness ambassadors.

The report outlines nine strategies to achieve these goals, as well as 30 key performance indicators to track ongoing progress. These strategies include developing a “Food Education Guidebook” to inform principal decisions on programming, expanding alternative meal options, including halal kitchens, prioritizing capital improvements to school kitchens and cafeterias, and more.

Since taking office, Mayor Adams has taken bold and transformative steps to create healthier school communities and set students up for success. Last year, he introduced Plant Powered Fridays in all public schools. He also announced the launch of the Chefs Council, which develops recipes of scratch-cooked, plant-based, culturally relevant recipes and provides hands-on training for DOE Office of Food and Nutrition Services (OFNS) workers. The mayor also expanded halal kitchens so that 87 public schools across the city are now certified to serve halal meals. 

In the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Executive Budget, Mayor Adams proposed $50 million in funding to expand the Cafeteria Enhancement Experience, transforming more than 80 school cafeterias into warm and welcoming spaces for students to enjoy nutritious meals. Further, in the FY24 Executive Budget, Mayor Adams proposed $5.5 million for culinary training for school food service workers, as well as $1 million in funding to integrate food education into school curriculums through core courses, hands-on learning, and afterschool programming.


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