We are a local food marketplace, that connects people to their local food systems. On October 31, 2012 we were supposed to launch, but Sandy came and disrupted our lives jus like everyone else. We were devastated, as any business that has to cancel a launch. We were working on creating a network of 2,500 farmers, food makers, urban farms, educators, incubators and advocates in San Francisco, Austin and New York City. Two days after the storm, we heard that New Yorkers were living in food deserts and mobilized the food truck partners from our launch party to lower Manhattan. The rest is history. Laci Texter, a collaborator for our launch, from the New York City Food Truck Association (www.NYCFoodTrucks.org
) ran with the idea and mobilized their 21 trucks with Jet Blue and the Mayor’s Fund to the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Coney Island and Staten Island. But we knew the trucks would be limited to 500 meals per day and this was only part of the solution. We knew we had to mobilize our local food distribution model on the storm relief effort. We partnered with one food vendor, Uncle Gussy’s on 51 Street & Park Avenue, used them as a hub an drive their food to the Rockaways as a pilot. We setup in front of St Francis Church on Beach 129. The owners of Bareburger were there serving their hamburgers to a line of 300 people. We knew there was some serendipity in that, but never expected what came next. By Day 5, we had 22 vendors on board. By week 4 we had 55. We have been serving 2,000 to 15,000 meals daily, Including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Channukah events. Today we are the leading food relief effort in the Rockaways, Staten Island and Brooklyn. We have created or helped start 23 Disaster Relief Centers & continue to feed everyone, to the day. Our mission is to keep people healthy through NY’s fresh, seasonal food. Our farmers and food preparers have become NY’s first responders, in what has proven to be the most successful social experiment in the history of disaster relief. Our background is in local food distribution and disaster preparedness. Our founder, Garry Michael, [address removed] has a background in medical disaster preparedness and response. He worked for Bellevue Hospital and the Department of Homeland Security in Mass Casualty Incidence (MCI) and large Scale Emergency Response (LaSER). His background directed and shaped our relief efforts. And continues to influence our efforts. On Nov. 29, we organized a meeting between the Medical Directors of Disaster Preparedness and Response to inform them of our success with local food distribution and to discuss the plans for an organized medical response. When the directors of NYU, Maimonides, Cornell, Columbia, Coney Island University, and St Johns University Hospitals admitted that the medical response was lacking by protocol standards, Garry decided to spearhead a triage overhaul. By the end of a secret afterhours meetings that included directors of Disaster Preparedness, Heads of Resodents from the major universities, Deans of pharmacy programs, and Tech industry leaders, we created a protocol for Medical Triage. We have been working effortlessly to implement medical triage at all 23 disaster relief centers in partnership with SI Strong, Knights of Columbus, SI Recovers, Occupy Sandy, Hallowed Sons, Bridge to Tunnel, Rockaways Help, Friends of the Rockaways, Action Center, and the community run relief centers. This will be the most comprehensive medical overhaul of the Sandy relief & will include the Non Profit donation centers, Medical hospitals in NYC, Community Organizations, Medical professionals and the NYC Technology industry. We can not offer any names, due to the sensitivity of the overhaul, but we are so proud of the many professionals that are risking liability and their careers to spearhead this effort.