Opposing SNAP Cuts: Protecting Our Community's Access to Healthy Food

July 16, 2024

As the expiration date of the Farm Bill looms on September 30th, it's crucial to understand the importance of this legislation, particularly its role in authorizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For 1.8 million New Yorkers, SNAP is not just a program—it’s a lifeline that ensures families have access to healthy food and nutritious meals.

SNAP in New York City: The Numbers

  • 560,000 children in New York City rely on SNAP to help their families put food on the table.
  • Older Adults (60+) represent 30% (530,000) of total SNAP recipients in our city.

These figures highlight the vital role SNAP plays in our community, supporting some of our most vulnerable populations: children and older adults.

The Threat of SNAP Cuts

Recently, the House Committee on Agriculture released a draft version of the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 (Farm Bill). This draft proposes the elimination of one of the two mechanisms for readjusting SNAP benefits. If enacted, this change would slash approximately $30 billion from SNAP benefits over the next decade. The consequences of such cuts would be devastating, drastically reducing support for the tens of millions of people in this country who are already struggling against hunger, especially during a time of increasing food insecurity.

The Impact on Local Economies

SNAP is not only essential for individuals and families; it also supports local and regional food businesses and economies. In 2023, the NYC Department of Social Services issued approximately $5 billion in SNAP benefits, with more than $3 million of these benefits redeemed at farmers markets. Local supermarkets and bodegas, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, rely on customers using SNAP funds. The USDA estimates that every $1 billion spent in SNAP benefits increases GDP by $1.79 billion, supporting 13,560 jobs and creating $32 million in farm income​.

Protecting the Thrifty Food Plan

The Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to set SNAP benefits, is vital for ensuring that benefit levels reflect current nutritional guidelines and market conditions. The last Farm Bill created a necessary pathway to update this plan every 5 years. However, the proposed cuts would eliminate these updates, preventing necessary adjustments and resulting in $30 billion less in SNAP benefits over the next decade​.

At GrowNYC, we are deeply committed to fighting food insecurity and ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to nutritious food. That's why we are one of more than 1,400 organizations that have signed a letter urging Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP. 

We need your help to amplify this message. Share this blog with your network. Thank you for your support.

#SNAPshot

GrowNYC Zero Waste Community Resources

July 11, 2024

As of June 2024, all GrowNYC Zero Waste programming has ended.  

Please note this does not include food scrap drop-offs at the Union Square Greenmarket or Tompkins Square Greenmarket (operated by the Lower East Side Ecology Center) or Domino Park Greenmarket (operated by Domino Park).

The NYC City Council allocated funding for community composting in the FY25 budget. This $6.2M restoration supports long-time Compost Project advocates with $500k going to GrowNYC, while expanding funding to more community composting and zero waste organizations. 

We’re deeply grateful for the council’s support. We are launching a planning process to re-envision old programming and develop new ways to reduce the environmental impacts of the millions of pounds of waste New Yorkers produce each year. This new, one year discretionary funding is 10% of our previous zero waste budget and will not allow us to recreate the programming we had before - however it remains critical to our program’s future. We are taking time to do this in a thoughtful and financially sustainable way for NYC residents. Please stay tuned via our website or social media (@grownyc) for future updates! 

While our Zero Waste work is taking a pause, we know the community continues to work towards the long-term sustainability of our city. The resources and updates below are subject to change--please check host information before you go. Remember, it's great to recycle and rot, but it's best to reduce and reuse to prevent waste!

Food Waste & Composting

Clothing & Textiles

  • Greenmarket clothing collections run by Wearable Collections will continue at its usual locations. Please check the schedule on our website for up-to-date information on drop-off locations, collection times, and accepted materials. 
  • ReFashionNYC is a convenient and free textile donation and recycling service available for NYC residential and commercial buildings, schools, and nonprofit institutions. 

Electronics

Reusable Items

  • Interested in hosting your own swap? Use GrowNYC’s DIY Guide for reference! 
  • Big Reuse accepts home goods, clothing, books, furniture and more
  • Use DonateNYC to find where you can donate your gently used items near you! 
  • Facebook Marketplace and/or Local “Buy Nothing” groups

Sustainable Summer with GrowNYC!

July 2, 2024

Schools out, Summer days in New York City are here! ☀ In honor of the sunny days, GrowNYC put together some ways to get involved in your community and live more sustainably during the warmer months. 

1. Visit your nearest GrowNYC Greenmarket

Nothing screams summer like a visit to a farmers market! The year-round GrowNYC Greenmarket network is growing, offering more seasonal delights directly from farmers from May through November. Throughout the season New Yorkers (and visitors) can find a bounty of fresh, local products at Greenmarkets throughout the city.

Since 1976, this vital food access program has bridged the connection between small farmers and New Yorkers! GrowNYC works with over 200 regional producers to transform open space across the five boroughs into vibrant centers of community activity, ensure fresh, local food is accessible to all New Yorkers, and provide a crucial sales channel for farmers and producers in the Northeast.

All GrowNYC Greenmarket locations accept SNAP/EBT, Debit/Credit, Healthfirst OTC cards (LIP and CC members only), WIC & Senior FMNP coupons, Fresh Connect Bucks, and Greenmarket Bucks. Customers using SNAP/EBT/P-EBT that spend $2, receive a bonus $2 Health Buck, up to $10 per day.

2. Plan a visit to GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden

The GrowNYC Teaching Garden on Governors Island is a one acre urban farm that aims to engage, excite, and educate its visitors in all aspects of environmental education, urban farming, and climate action.

The Teaching Garden is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 12 PM - 4 PM, starting Saturday, May 4 until October 27.

  • All ferry passengers ride free on the Governor Island’s Ferry from Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays before noon. Making this an fun and accessible environmental weekend activity for all New York City families, visitors, and anyone interested in immersing themselves into an urban oasis. 

  • Have a chance to purchase an array of just-picked vegetables, herbs, and fruits from GrowNYC’s donation-based farmstand! Pay what you wish. The produce you'll find at the Farmstand was planted by NYC students during their field trips to the Garden.

3. Join your nearest community garden

NYC is home to the largest community garden network in the nation and there's no time like the present to join or visit your nearest community green space!
Interested in joining or visiting one of NYC's 600 existing community gardens? Find one at NYC Parks GreenThumb or check out GrowNYC’s garden map to see what green spaces we’ve worked with in the past.

4. Volunteer with GrowNYC and other mission-driven organizations

Interested in volunteering with GrowNYC? Get involved in your community and join one of our online orientations where we will provide information about GrowNYC, local agriculture and food access, as well as current and upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Orientation is open to all, however, GrowNYC volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Volunteer orientation is required to participate in our volunteer opportunities.

5. Become a Friend of GrowNYC

Friends of GrowNYC commit to making a recurring gift of $15 or more every month. When you give monthly, you support GrowNYC programming year-round, from planting to harvest season!

What are the benefits? Friends of GrowNYC receive an exclusive GrowNYC cotton canvas tote bag, as well as invitations to members-only online and in person events throughout the year.

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