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Bringing Wholesome Meals to New York City’s Correctional Facilities

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New York City is pioneering a significant transformation in the institutional food sector by integrating plant-based food options into correctional facilities. This initiative, supported by Mayor Eric Adams, reflects a broader movement towards healthier, sustainable food choices in public institutions.

Mayor Adams, a long-time advisor of Plant Based World Expo since its inception in 2019, has consistently championed the adoption of plant-based diets within public settings as part of his campaign and policy work.

The move towards plant-based menus in NYC’s correctional facilities is part of a city-wide effort to improve health outcomes and environmental impacts by altering the dietary landscape. The program includes training culinary staff in the preparation of plant-based meals, aiming to provide nutritious, appealing options to inmates. This program not only promises to transform the eating habits of those within the correctional system but also sets a precedent for other institutions to follow.

“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,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

 “We have transformed the way we feed young New Yorkers and our sick neighbors, and now, as we expand these food choices to Rikers Island, we are continuing to take action to get healthy food to all New Yorkers, not just a select few. Thanks to this partnership with the private sector, individuals in our care will now have access to healthy and tasty food to support them on their path to successfully reentering their communities — a win for the health of New Yorkers and our planet.”

By incorporating plant-based foods into correctional facilities, NYC is leading by example in the institutional adoption of diets that can lead to lower rates of chronic illness associated with poor diet choices such as diabetes and heart disease.

This initiative is part of a broader strategy to normalize plant-based nutrition in various sectors of foodservice from schools to hospitals and government facilities. It represents a crucial case-study as plant-based foods prove viability in a setting that faces unique challenges like budget constraints and diverse dietary needs.

As plant-based menus continue to gain traction across the commercial and institutional foodservice sectors, NYC’s new culinary program in correctional facilities stands as a beacon of progressive change, promoting health and sustainability through dietary innovation.

For more details on this initiative, please visit the official NYC Department of Correction Culinary Training page.

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