2010 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® Award

2010 Neighborhood Builders® Award acceptance speech by Just Food Executive Director, Jacquie Berger

November 16, 2010

It is a tremendous honor for us to receive this award and the recognition that Just Food is indeed a Neighborhood Builder. Just Food has been working to build vital, healthy, thriving communities in NYC since 1995. We engage in this work by focusing on increasing access to fresh, healthy, locally grown food in all New York City communities.

Just Food's Executive Director, Jacquie Berger (left), and Bank of America's New York City President, Jeff Barker (middle).

We focus on food because food is the foundation of community well-being. Conversely, the lack of healthy food is a great detriment to our City. It hampers economic opportunity, it thwarts educational achievement, and it contributes to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, obesity, and whole host of other diet-related diseases. By changing the food environment of our citizens, we create opportunity, advance social justice, and improve the quality of life for all our neighbors.

In 2010 alone, our programs served a population of more than 130,000 New Yorkers. Our programs teach New Yorkers to grow their own food; create direct connections to local food producers; cook healthy, delicious meals; and advocate for a more just and sustainable food system.

We go about this important work by partnering with a diverse range of community groups, including many located in the most underserved and food-insecure neighborhoods in NYC. By starting with strong community partners, we can ensure investment and engagement from the individuals who will be directly involved in and affected by the projects we implement. Through our innovative model, Just Food builds the capacity or our partners, providing resources, training and tools to the community organizations and individuals on the ground who care and with our help are able to sow the seeds of change.

As the population of our City grows, and the economy continues to struggle, we have seen a rapidly growing need for the services we provide. This growing needs spurs us to action, and this year we will respond by supporting the development of new CSAs, new urban agriculture based farmers markets, new farm-to-food pantry partnerships, and much much more. This award will give us a tremendous boost in offering these services to more communities in need, not only this year, but far into the future, and for that we are truly grateful.

See the official press release here.

Recipients of the 2010 New York City Neighborhood Excellence Initiative® Awards.