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Strengthening Buffalo's Food System To Promote Healthy Eating Among Children

Strengthening Buffalo's Food System To Promote Healthy Eating Among Children

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Policy & Planning Brief prepared for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities - Buffalo
November 2010
Policy & Planning Brief prepared for Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities - Buffalo
November 2010

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POLICY & PLANNING BRIEF November 2010
Strengthening Bu
ff 
alo’s Food System
To Promote Healthy Ea
t
ng Among Children
Food sustains us and gives us joy. The food children eat in Bu
ff 
alo comes from a complex foodsystem. The food system includes the farmers who grow our food as well as the businesses that process,transport, market, and sell food. In addi
t
on to the entrepreneurial private sector, the government tooplays a role in our food system through policies, laws, incen
t
ves, and regula
t
ons at local, state, andfederal levels. Our food system depends on the availability of natural and human-made resources – such as soil, water, land, and labor - and infrastructure to grow, process, and distribute food. Insummary, our food system includes a diverse set of processes, stakeholders, regula
t
ons, and resourcesthat enable the produc
t
on, processing, distribu
t
on, consump
t
on, and disposal of food.Bu
ff 
alo’s food system presents signi
cant barriers that limit children from ea
t
ng well. HealthyKids, Healthy Communi
t
es-Bu
ff 
alo (HKHC-Bu
ff 
alo) aspires to improve Bu
ff 
alo’s food system to enableall children to have access to nutri
t
ous, a
ff 
ordable, and culturally appropriate food.This policy brief documents the current state of the food system within the city of Bu
ff 
alo. WithinBu
ff 
alo’s food system, par
t
cular components are worthy of immediate a
en
t
on by our policy makersand the community at large. Children live, study, and play in food environments that limit healthyea
t
ng. Many residen
t
al neighborhoods, especially those with a high density of children and low incomehouseholds, are underserved by food retail establishments that sell healthful foods. Similarly, the foodenvironment in the vicinity of schools is dominated by convenience stores that mostly adver
t
se andsell high calorie, low nutri
t
on foods.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communi
t
es - Bu
ff 
alo
Healthy versus unhealthy food op
t
ons for children in the city of Bu
ff 
alo
1
 
Bu
ff 
alo’s Food System
Food Produc
t
on
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communi
t
es - Bu
ff 
alo
2
Bu
ff 
alo is fortunate to have a signi
cant amountof land available for growing food within and surroundingcity limits. Within the city of Bu
ff 
alo, a sizable number of community gardens and a smaller number of urban farms o
ff 
eropportuni
t
es for growing food. Es
t
mates suggest that thereare 16 private and 146 public community gardens in the city.Of the public gardens, 90 are located on land leased from thecity and 56 are pending for lease. Urban farms within the cityinclude Wilson Street farm, Massachuse
s Avenue Farm andCurbside Cro
f
s farm.Surrounding Bu
ff 
alo, within Erie County, are a numberof farms that grow crops and raise livestock. Erie County ishome to 1,215 farms; the average size of a farm in Erie Countyis 123 acres. Erie County farms are an important part of thelocal economy. The total market value of products sold fromErie County farms in 2007 was over 117 million dollars, a 27%increase since 2002. Of the total products sold, livestock salescons
t
tute a majority (64%) of the sales (over 75 million dollars)while crop sales make up for the rest (over 41 million dollars).The average sales per farm in 2007 were 96,322 dollars, anincrease of 34% from 2002.Our local farms face considerable challenges. Thenumber of farms and farmland is declining over
t
me. Farmingcon
t
nues to be an economically challenging profession. Fora sizeable propor
t
on (48%) of Erie County farmers, farmingis not their primary profession; for many farmers second jobsare a means to sustain their families economically. Partly dueto economic challenges, few younger individuals are enteringthe profession of farming. The average age of farmers in ErieCounty is 57 years old. Local farmers also report the limitedavailability of seasonal labor to be a signi
cant challenge.
Food Processing
T
he city of Bu
ff 
alo has a rich legacy of food processingda
t
ng back to its days as a key player in the grain industry inthe United States. Bu
ff 
alo is home to 41 food manufacturing
Food Distribu
t
on
Food grown and processed reaches consumers throughthe private sector as well as the non-pro
t sector. The privatesector includes wholesalers and retailers, while the non-pro
tsector includes emergency food services such as food banksand food pantries.Food wholesalers opera
t
ng within the city of Bu
ff 
alois limited to 33 establishments. The sector is important to thelocal economy with annual sales of over 33.7 million dollars,about 17% of all sales within the wholesale sector of Bu
ff 
alo’seconomy. Food wholesalers in Bu
ff 
alo employ 919 individualsand have an annual payroll of 29.3 million dollars.Strengthening the distribu
t
on sector such that itreconnects local and regional farmers and local processorswith local retailers (and consumers) has the poten
t
al to furtherpromote economic development, as well as increase availabilityof healthful produce within the city of Bu
ff 
alo.The state of the food retail environment directlyimpacts the consumers in the city of Bu
ff 
alo. In Bu
ff 
alo, childrenand their families can purchase food from 750 food businesses.A majority (69.6%) of these are restaurants followed byconvenience stores (11.1%) (see Table 2 and Figure 2). Grocerystores and supermarkets generally provide the healthiest foodop
t
ons compared to the other food des
t
na
t
on types. Figure3 illustrates that most neighborhoods throughout the city haveno access to healthy food op
t
ons. Of par
t
cular concern are
Calendar Year 2009Average Monthly Sta
t
s
t
csAgencyCityPoundsMealsHouseholdsPeople% of Total Pop.Served*Meals / Pop.Served
149Bu
ff 
alo4,954,478417,13314,22034,76213.4%12
Table 1: Distribu
t
on of Food by the Food Bank of Western New York
Source: Food Bank of WNY, Cumula
t
ve Category Totals
* Based on total city popula
t
on es
t
mates from the 2006-2008 American Community Survey
establishments, about 11% of all manufacturing establishmentsin the city. These establishments employ 2,192 individuals withan annual payroll of 93.8 million dollars.Local and regional food producers frequently reportthe limited availability of small-scale food processing servicesin the city of Bu
ff 
alo. There is a signi
cant opportunity topromote food-based economic development in the city bypromo
t
ng addi
t
onal food processing businesses in the city -especially small scale food processing - and link it to local andregional food producers.
 
POLICY & PLANNING BRIEF November 2010
2345678
Bu
 ff 
alonians can purchase food from 750 food businesses. A majority of these arerestaurants and convenience stores.The total market value of products sold  from Erie County farms in 2007 was over $117 million, a 27% increase since 2002.
 
FoodDes
t
na
t
on% of Total
Restaurant69.6%Convenience11.1%Bakery5.9%Grocery5.9%Meat and Fish2.8%Candy and Nut1.6%Supermarket1.2%Fruit and Veg.0.7%Natural0.7%Specialty0.5%Dairy0.0%
Table 2: Bu
ff 
alo’sFood Des
t
na
t
ons
Data Source: Reference USA andphone/site visit veri
ca
t
on
3
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communi
t
es - Bu
ff 
alo
the cross-hatched red and orange neighborhoods. These neighborhoodsdo not have access to healthy food op
t
ons within walking distanceand the majority of neighborhood households do not haveaccess to a vehicle to obtain healthy food from distantsupermarkets and grocery stores.In an emergency, children and theirfamilies in the city of Bu
ff 
alo can rely on TheFood Bank of Western New York to meet theirfood-related needs. The Food Bank of WNYdirectly distributes food to other emergencyfood organiza
t
ons and agencies (such asfood pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters).During the calendar year of 2009, the FoodBank of WNY distributed nearly 5,000,000pounds of food to the 149 agencies locatedwithin the city of Bu
ff 
alo (See Table 1). Onaverage, these agencies served 417,133 mealsto 14,220 households (or 34,762 people) permonth. Of the nearly 35,000 people served in thecity of Bu
ff 
alo, 38% were under the age of 18.
Food Disposal
Figure 2: Food Des
t
na
t
ons by Type
Data Source: NYS GIS Clearinghouse and Reference USA
Figure 3: Access to Food Des
t
na
t
onswithin a Quarter Mile Walking Distance
Note: S = Supermarket; G = Grocery Store; Others = Convenience Store,Meat & Fish, Fruit & Veg., Candy & Nut, Bakery, Natural, Specialty
 
POLICY & PLANNING BRIEF November 2010
About 27% of the na
t
on’s edible food (or 300 pounds of food per person) is thrown outannually. Two-thirds of these losses are fresh fruits and vegetables,
uid milk, grain products,and sweeteners. Food waste is the single largest contributor to the na
t
on’s solid municipal waste(smw) stream. Approximately 12.5% of the na
t
onal smw stream is food waste. The city of Bu
ff 
aloproduces 139,900 tons of smw yearly sugges
t
ng 17,488 tons is food waste. This food waste couldpoten
t
ally be diverted from the land
ll through food recovery, recycling, and compos
t
ng; feedingthe hungry and protec
t
ng the environment.
 
1012119
 About 12.5% of the na
onal solid municipal waste streamis food waste.Bu
 ff 
aloniansthrow out 17,488 tons of  food annualy.

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