NYC Mayor Adams Launches Plant-Based Food Initiative In Prisons

Prison staff will learn "plant-based culinary skills"


2 Minutes Read

Mayor Adams Vegan Mayor Eric Adams is part of a new plant-based initiative - Media Credit: Matthew Russell Lee / Alamy Stock Photo

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is part of an initiative to invest USD $100,000 to train foodservice workers in the city’s prison system to cook healthy plant-based meals.

Read more: NYC Mayor Eric Adams Encourages Residents To Ditch Meat For A Day

The Mayor’s office, the NYC Department of Correction (DOC), and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will partner with non-profit Hot Bread Kitchen to develop the training program. It will help staff at several correctional facilities to learn “plant-centered culinary skills.”  The initiative expands on Mayor Adams’ other successes in bringing plant-based food into NYC’s public institutions. 

“New York City continues to lead the nation in getting healthy food onto people’s tables — not only providing New Yorkers with better access to healthy foods but also changing the way our food system impacts the environment,” Adams, who is plant-based, said in a statement.

“Reimagining food”

Rikers prison island
Bryan Smith/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Stock Photo Cooks at Rikers Island will acquire new plant-based skills

The initiative will train cooks at Rikers Island – a notorious prison island in the Bronx – and at two juvenile correctional facilities.

Food in US prisons is typically poor quality. Incarcerated people more likely to have diabetes, hypertension, and suffer from food-borne illnesses than other Americans. Meanwhile, 90 percent of people in New York prisons have said they want more access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Read more: Prisoners Could Be Served Deer Meat In The UK

The new training program will “focus on reimagining food” served in the facilities. It will “support the health and well-being of detained individuals,” said the DOC in a press release. Additionally, it will “promote a reduction in our food-related greenhouse gas emissions.”

Plant-based success

In 2022, all 11 public hospitals in NYC began serving plant-based meals by default. According to the DOC, there is 95 percent patient satisfaction with the meals. Since their introduction, plant-based meals have lowered food emissions from the hospitals by 36 percent. Training in plant-based nutrition also became available for NYC doctors under a $44 million lifestyle medicine training scheme launched by Mayor Adams.

More plant-based food is now being served in New York schools. The NYC public school system implemented Vegan Fridays in 2022. 

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