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BIG NEWS!  The City Council is having a public hearing next Tuesday, February 8th, on DOE school food policies.

Are you tired of the junk food being sold in school vending machines?  Do you want a wellness policy regarding food sold at school fundraisers that genuinely protects the health of our children and not corporate interests?  Do you want more transparency about school food contracts?  Would you like to see more locally grown produce in our schools?

This hearing is a tremendous opportunity for parents to voice their concerns about the food in our schools and make suggestions for how it can be improved.  The City Council really needs to hear from parents – it’s our children who are affected by the food afterall – so they can put pressure on the DOE to make changes.  With Mayoral control of the schools, public hearings such as this one are the only way for parents to participate in the democratic process.

Whatever changes you’d like to see, please don’t pass up this opportunity to stand up for our children’s health!  Notices from Council Member Brewer’s office on the hearing are below.

Hope to see you at the hearing next Tuesday!



Please be aware of the following updates and information regarding the hearing:

We have received word that pending legislation will not specifically be on the hearing agenda, though Council Members may choose to ask questions pertaining to particular pieces. While there will be separate hearings forthcoming on individual pieces of legislation (including CM Brewer’s Intro 452), this hearing will be to discuss school food issues, give comment, and ask questions. As previously noted, CM Brewer’s focus will be on contracting and procurement with a particular focus on local sourcing.

We have recently been informed that there will be no advance sign up for speaking at the hearing and to ask our constituents not to sign up with Ms. Atwell directly. If you have previously contacted Ms. Atwell about speaking, please follow the directions she gave you at the time of your contact. Sign up to give testimony may be done with the Sergeant at Arms before the hearing. Please check in with the Sergeant when you arrive to make sure you are confirmed to speak.

Please be aware that at Education Committee hearings the DOE will typically testify for 2 hours or more, depending on the number of questions from Council Members. We have been told not to expect to hear from other witnesses until 2:30-3:00. There seems to be a lot of interest & the witness list is very long, so please keep this in mind when making your arrangements.

Pending any additional updates, please direct questions about the hearing to our office. Please feel free to pass this information on to others who plan to attend the hearing.

Reana Kovalich, Legislative Aide, Council Member Gale Brewer, 212-788-6975

Dear Advocate,

I am writing to update you regarding the hearing scheduled in the New York City Council Education Committee, chaired by Council Member Robert Jackson, on the Department of Education’s (DOE) SchoolFood procurement and contracting procedures. The hearing has been officially scheduled for February 8, 2011 at 1pm at 250 Broadway (at Murray Street), 14th floor hearing room.

DOE’s SchoolFood program provides 1,200 NYC public schools with meals for approximately 800,000 students each year. To date, much about the City’s sourcing of school food is unknown by both citizens and legislators. Without a detailed knowledge of existing distributor contracts and purchasing patterns, it is difficult to assess their cost and benefits, or to undertake other, more healthful and potentially cost-effective local food initiatives.

Although I have had a series of both productive and informative meetings on this subject, I believe that a public hearing will further our efforts to improve school food as well as give the public an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. The hearing agenda includes two bills I introduced, Intro 452-2011 and Resolution 82-2010. Intro 452-2011 encourages the increased sourcing of locally grown and/or processed foods by city agencies and Resolution 82-2010 seeks to repeal the City’s ban on the sale of home-baked goods in schools.

In addition to issues of school food procurement and contracting, this hearing will address a variety of related DOE food policy issues that have been requested by other Council Members. I anticipate that the hearing will be widely attended and hope that you will consider adding your voice to the discussion. Although there will be an open sign up for public comments, you may also sign up in advance by contacting Jan Atwell at JAtwell@council.nyc.gov.  Please feel free to contact me or Legislative Liaison Reana Kovalcik RKovalcik@council.nyc.gov at 212.788.6975 if you have any additional questions or comments.


Gale A. Brewer

Council Member, District 6:  Upper West Side and Clinton, Manhattan


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