March 13, 2008Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The first of three bills before me today is Introductory Number 665-A, sponsored at the request of the Administration by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Comrie, Rivera, Brewer, Fidler, Gerson, James, Koppell, Palma, Recchia, Seabrook, Stewart, Weprin, Vann, Mendez, Barron, Jackson, Mark-Viverito and White.
"We all know that a balanced diet containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Eating more fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Given that obesity and diabetes in New York City have doubled in the past decade, it is essential that New Yorkers have more access to healthy food.
"Introductory Number 665-A establishes 1,000 new mobile food vending permits for carts that will sell fresh fruits and vegetables exclusively in neighborhoods that need them the most. This 'Green Carts' legislation is an important public health initiative that responds to the need for fresh produce close to home.
"When fully implemented, our best estimate is that this initiative will result in at least 75,000 New Yorkers eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, which could save at least 50 lives a year in the long term.
"While the hot dog cart may be a cherished New York institution - and I say that with some authority - with this legislation, we aim to make the 'Green Cart' just as ubiquitous and loved.
"I would like to thank the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for their $1.5 million grant that will help green cart operators get up and running. The grant will be administered through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. Over the next two years, it will be used to support cart operators in four key areas:
"First, to develop a branded and functional cart design to help customers recognize green carts; Second, to establish a relationship with non-profit wholesalers that will result in a dedicated supply of high-quality and low-cost produce; Third, to create a loan fund in
partnership with Acción New York to help cart operators cover their start-up costs; And fourth, to launch a coordinated marketing campaign to promote Green Carts.
"New Yorkers are lucky to have such a strong network of philanthropists working to make our City a better place.
"I'd like to thank Laurie Tisch for her foundation's generous support. Both she and the foundation's executive director, Gail Nayowith, have always been there when we've needed them. Thank you both for being here today - and for all that you do for New York City.
"I would also like to thank Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Frieden and his staff for their work to promote healthy choices for all New Yorkers, Food Policy Coordinator Benjamin Thomases and the Food Policy Taskforce for their leadership and innovation, and Speaker Quinn and the City Council for their help and support in approving this legislation."