(UR) South Bronx, New York— Over what has been called “a food desert,” rain clouds are gathering, and with them comes much needed access to what very-well might be affordable, healthy sustenance. South Bronx, New York, home to no farms and no agricultural production whatsoever, being able to purchase food that is healthy has not been the most affordable option.
With a recent announcement from New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, however, “the times,” a great poet once said, “they are a changin’.”
Not just a ghetto housing the victims of dispossession (pgs. 2, 150) and redistributive economic policy, the South Bronx are soon to become a major intersection for food, linking inner-city families to up-state farmers on a scale that has never before been realized. Greenmarket, Co., the organization that will be in charge of running the massive, “120,000 square foot indoor/outdoor market,” not only received the promise of funding from the Governor’s announcement, they also received a fair dose of legitimacy.
While this is not the first market hub in New York, it is set to be the biggest, a position that comes with great promise and responsibility. Not only will the Green Hub offer a link between farmers and distributors, it will allow for locals to gain access to more affordable, and fresher, produce than has previously been seen in the South Bronx, offering residents the chance to interact with their food system in new ways.
Despite the $15 million promise from the Governor and all the potential of the project, the construction of such a mega-hub serves as only a stop-gap, a thumb in the dam holding back a much larger issue: Ongoing suburbanization and an increasing wealth-gap distances people from their food, allowing for the creation of such “food deserts.”
Basically, the more retail outlets are pushed out of urban areas and into the suburbs, and the more snack foods and other unhealthy foodstuffs become artificially deflated and affordable through subsidization, the less likely the urban precariat is to have access to healthy food.
Greenmarket, Co., and the mega Green Hub are, at the least, offering some small chance for people in the South Bronx to have access to healthy, nutritious food. And that is a start. Offering something of a step-up from theinnovative Community-based ideas, the Green Hub is taking advantage of existing infrastructure, and government grants.
With more sustainable solutions requiring a more systemic overhaul of the North American Big Ag-based system, this step might be the largest in a series of baby-steps — steps that might be leading in the right direction.
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