The vegan Brooklyn borough president visited the new farm on Eastern Parkway on Oct. 12 to see just how much they’ve grown in less than a month on the formerly vacant lot. Eric Adams turned the garden tour into a campaign event, giving a speech about his health priorities should he be elected mayor on Nov 2. With the election just weeks away, Adams chose to talk about food as medicine, and tie it into his stance on hunger, COVID-19, and obesity.
“Communities that experience a lack of access to healthy food experience a lack of access to healthy preventative healthcare,” Adams said in a speech after he toured the grounds.
He noted that out of the 35,000 New Yorkers that died from COVID-19, 10,000 of them were from Brooklyn. He disparaged the amount of fast food available in the borough and brought up the lasting health issues that former COVID sufferers still experience.
“So we failed New Yorkers, not only during COVID-19, but pre COVID-19. We failed them by not partnering with organizations like Campaign Against Hunger,” Adams said.
Campaign Against Hunger built the farm in September, on a lot that was vacant for 30 years, to support their food pantry. The kale, pumpkins and other fresh vegetables growing were of great interest to Adams, who repeatedly said he would use the food he picked that day in tomorrow’s morning smoothie.
Adams highlighted his February report in partnership with NYU on agriculture, and said they found that a new agrarian economy is possible and profitable. “This is real forward, upstream thinking, and I want to continue to do so,” Adams said. “If I’m fortunate enough to be the mayor of the City of New York … we will also form an integrated and community engaged structure to coordinate food policy.”
The mayoral candidate said that would include an accessible database on equitable access to nutritious food. He also touched on microbiomes, which concern him because the way gut bacteria is maintained can lead to future health problems. “We don’t talk about it at all. We want to zero in on that,” he said.