City of Hartford: Soil Testing Costs (Lorenzo’s Story)
Soil testing is the responsibility of the individual or organization desiring to use land for farming purposes. They are required to do this at a cost on land they don’t own.
City of Hartford: Zoning Code that Limits Farming (Lorenzo’s Story)
The city’s zoning code defines and provides standards for both uses. Standards for community gardens address water sources, drainage, soil suitability, tool storage, use of chemicals, composting, winter maintenance, and identification.
Other regulations address operating rules, garden administration, produce sales, and shade pavilions. Standards for urban farms address health and safety requirements, lighting, operating hours, odors, farm stands, and equipment
Mr. Christian’s story speaks of the impacts that policy can have on both the limits and success of urban farming. His story speaks to the need for more land to farm, the economic benefits that urban farming can provide to the community, and access to locally grown food. No Farms No Food!
Food Safety Regulations (Samuel’s Story)
We can see how food safety regulations can affect a community. The way our food is handled can be the difference between contracting E-Coli or other bacterium and the policy helps implement the importance of food safety. If dining services did not follow these policies there would be a lot more cases of customers getting sick. Imagine going to a restaurant and getting sick because your chef didn’t cook the food all the way through. Safety concerns such as this one affect everyone whether or not you think they do.
Food Service Labor Policy (Ray’s Story)
The most important policies that affect food service workers are safe work conditions and fair wages, and the personal stories of Ray Cierto and Julio Cancho elaborate on the different conditions found in the different branches of food service. The department of labor has a defined set of laws that employers must meet including the minimum wage requirements and overtime pay and many food service establishments work along the borderline of these requirements, you can find the most important of these laws and a detailed description of how they are applied in the following documents.
National Nutrition Programs (Tony’s Story)
The Farm Bill, a wide body of laws, governs most US food policies; it’s renewed every five years. The bill’s fourth title focuses on food aid : namely the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “food stamps,” and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Both SNAP and NSLP help low-income households access healthy food, and are federally funded.
SNAP also teaches its recipients nutrition education and how to properly (and safely) prepare food. Click here for eligibility info. To use a screening tool click here.
NSLP specifically offers healthy lunches to students every school day at little to no cost for the household. More information about NSLP can be found here.
The need for more healthier food stems from a larger problem of Hartford being a “food apartheid.” The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) calls it “food desert” to mean area without easy access to fresh, healthy, and affordable foods. 1
A 2009 Report to Congress stated that there are 104.9 million American households that live more than a mile from a supermarket and don’t have access to a vehicle. Within urban clusters, 1.4 million individuals (29.3%) of the low-income population were more than one mile from the nearest supermarket. A study, done four years before this report, noted that over 46% of food stamp households only shopped at supermarkets.
A major factor in shaping the policies that affect building development is the city’s code of ordinances. Ordinances can be a set of laws and regulations that apply to everyone within the city’s (or municipal’s) limits. Zoning rules fall under the code of ordinances. Such regulating laws ultimately decides on how the city’s land is used.
Another problem with food access in Hartford is the lack of development, specifically chain supermarkets in Hartford. In chapter six of Mark Winne’s book, Closing the Food Gap, Winne noted a Yale study that reported, “[These] suburban supermarkets have more product selection and better quality produce when compared to [urban] grocery stores” (Winne 86).
Furthermore, “on a nationwide basis, the policy center found that zip codes with the highest percentages of households on public assistance had less supermarket space per capita than higher-income zip codes” (Winne 88). As he concluded, “pulling the levers of public policy has become virtually the only effective recourse for those whom the marketplace has failed” (Winne 102).