Dear Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and Honorable Council Members,

As someone who utilizes GrowNYC’s programs, thank you for your critical support of this organization over the years. GrowNYC serves more than 3 million New Yorkers every year via food access programs, food scrap drop-off sites, Greenmarkets, community and school gardens, and environmental education in all five boroughs. Each one of GrowNYC’s food programs accepts SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and other nutrition benefits to ensure that every New Yorker has access to the freshest, most nutritious food grown in our region. 

During this pandemic, GrowNYC quickly reconfigured its 80+ food access sites and kept the safe for shoppers, farmers, and their front-line workers. They launched a free Emergency Fresh Food Box Program for low-income New Yorkers who are undocumented, unemployed, or struggling in high need neighborhoods. By June 30, 2021 they will have delivered nearly 2 million free meals to some of NYC’s most vulnerable. 

Their compost program funding was cut by 75% in last year’s budget, decreasing their community composting sites from 76 to 15, and delivering a serious blow to New York City’s zero waste goals. Meanwhile, demand for composting is higher than ever, and collections at the re-opened sites are 30 percent higher today than they were before COVID. In January of 2021, they composted 183,000 pounds of residential food scraps, the emissions equivalent of conserving 7,800 gallons of gasoline. Increasing funding for the GrowNYC Compost Program and their NYC Compost Project partners  is needed to meet the demand and expand access to composting for all New Yorkers. 

I urge Speaker Johnson and the City Council to fully fund GrowNYC’s FY22 budget request to fund their critical food access programs (Reference Number #104474) in the FY22 New York City Budget and urge the mayor and council to fully restore their compost funding to FY20 levels so that New Yorkers can continue to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. 

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