Uniting on Food Justice: An Innovative Approach from a Health and Human Service Organization
S:US is committed to understanding the primary causes of food insecurity among the communities we serve and looking for innovative approaches to address this need. We define food security as when people have at all times physical, social, and economic access to safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences – looking at four major components: availability, access, stability, and utilization.
The current rate of food insecurity in NYC is 12.5% with higher rates in low-income neighborhoods and Black and Hispanic households. S:US own research found that over half of the people we serve report food insecurity—with 44% reporting “I worried whether my food would run out before I got money to buy more” was sometimes or often true for them in the past 12 months. Many stated that even when they’re able to get enough food e.g., from SNAP benefits or pantries, it’s often not what they want, and they have little choice in what they eat.
S:US believes that food is a basic right. S:US’ White Paper, “Uniting on Food Justice: An Innovative Approach from a Health and Human Service Organization” discusses the complexities of food insecurity, highlights innovations and best practices in food justice, and calls for collective action to eradicate food insecurity in our communities. S:US Food Security programs, like Urban Farms and Community Fridges, are embedded into our core services to address food insecurity. Highlighting the successes of current food cooperatives, food-as-medicine initiatives, public benefits programs and culinary skills training that address the four major components of food security, S:US calls for expansion of these innovative programs. Starting with the Summit to Serve New York, S:US aims to convene stakeholders and collaborators in the food justice movement to confront food insecurity in a unified, collaborative approach.