How much sugar are you drinking? A display at the Bronx Food Summit shows the surprisingly high sugar content of many popular drinks. (Photo by Alex Green)
Saturday, May 1st marked the first ever Bronx Food Summit, a day of workshops and discussions organized by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and a number of organizations and volunteers, that aimed to put food and nutrition at the top of the borough's agenda.
"We have poor eating habits, and we need to have better food options," Diaz said to the crowd of attendees at Hostos Community College.
He then rattled off a number of disturbing Bronx health statistics: the borough's been named the unhealthiest place to live in New York; one in every four children is obese, yet the South Bronx still has a hunger rate--37 percent--that's twice the national average.
"I don't know about you," Diaz said. "But I'm tired of being number one at everything that's bad and last place at everything that's good."
Enter the Bronx Food Summit. Panel discussions throughout the day touched upon topics like food justice, urban gardens, food co-ops, green job development, hunger and health related illness. In the afternoon, participants attended hands-on workshops where they learned how to make organic baby food, start their own compost piles and gardens, and techniques for cooking fresh fruits and vegetables.
The goal, Diaz said, was not only to spark a discussion about healthy eating, but for Bronxites to take what they've learned and incorporate it into their home life
"You can have accessible, healthy, nutritious foods--but if you don't know how to prepare them for yourselves and for your families, then our attempts will be fruitless," he said. "No pun intended."