Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How did Hurricane Sandy affect the northeastern food system?

A report from the Heritage Radio Network:


Brooklyn, NY (November 2, 2012) - Superstorm Sandy has wreaked destruction on restaurants across the Northeast region, forced retailers to close, created mass food insecurity and back-ups at ports, and challenged our agricultural and fishing communities. The impacts will be felt for the weeks and months to come. is a 501c3 non-profit radio station reporting on the food community. Our coverage of Superstorm Sandy includes over 30 interviews with restaurant owners, small food business entrepreneurs, distribution and transportation companies, hunger relief organizations, farmland advocates, and more.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy:

--Restaurants and small food businesses across the region remain without power and have suffered significant loss of inventory, equipment, and revenue. Staff has gone days without employment and are unsure of when they will be back to work. Some businesses may not re-open.

--Food entrepreneurs and restaurants in heavily impacted areas of Red Hook and Rockaway Beach, Brooklyn, are working together to feed each other and navigate the logistics of insurance claims, FEMA and state or federal disaster relief. They need your support.

--Clogged roadways, compromised ports, gas shortages and continued power outages are a challenge for distribution companies as they attempt to replenish food supplies at stores and restaurants impacted by storm.

--Farmers have missed multiple market days and fishermen in the Northeast are concerned about the halt of demand for fish from closed restaurants and shops.

--Relief agencies are working overtime to feed the influx of people without electricity or food, but their job will not be done when the power returns.

Interviews with the following individuals are available on our website: 
--Margarette Purvis, President & CEO of Food Bank NYC
--Joel Berg, Executive Director of New York Coalition Against Hunger
--Chris Parachini, Owner of Robert's, Blanca & Rippers at Rockaway Beach
--Adam Moskowitz, Owner of Larkin Cold Storage
--Alan Butzbach, Marketing Director of Baldor Specialty Foods
--Michael Anthony, Executive Chef at Gramercy Tavern
--Paul Wetzel, Sous Chef at Gramercy Tavern
--Christina Tosi, Chef of Momofuku Milk Bar
--Jimmy Carbone, Owner of Jimmy's No. 43 & Host of HRN's Beer Sessions
--Kerry Diamond, Co-owner of Seersucker
--Anne Saxelby, Owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers & Host of HRN's Cutting the Curd
--Rae Bernamoff, Owner of Mile End Delicatessen
--Allison Robicelli, Owner of Robicelli's
--Jon Feldman, Director of Operations of Stumptown Coffee Roasters
--Chase Emmons, Chief Beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange
--Dana Stafford, General Manager & President of Regional Access Delivery
--David Haight, New York State Director of American Farmland Trust
--Steve Jenkins, Owner Fairway Markets
--Pat LaFrieda Jr., Owner of Pat LaFrieda & Son Meat Purveyors
--Harrison Shulman, Operations Director at Sea to Table
--Jared Auerbach, Owner of Red's Best
--Michael Sinatra, Public Relations & Public Affairs Manager at Whole Foods Market
--Alice Marcus Krieg, Owner of Groundworks Inc. & Host of HRN's We Dig Plants
--June Russell, Manager of Farm Inspections at GrowNYC/Greenmarket
--Liz Carollo, Publicity Manager at GrowNYC/Greenmarket
--Anthony Butler, Executive Director of St. John's Bread & Life
--Marissa Lipton, Technical Recruiter for Con Ed
--Michael Harlan Turkell, Photographer & Host of HRN's The Food Seen
--Dave Arnold, Owner of Booker and Dax's & Host of HRN's Cooking Issues
--Erica Wides, Chef Instructor at ICE & Host of HRN's Let's Get Real
--Howard Sweetwood, Insurance carrier for hospitality industry
--Joe Campanale, Restaurateur, wine expert & Host of HRN's In The Drink
--Stephen A. Morino, Sales Director for Dairyland/Chef's Warehouse
--Aaron Rosenblum, Representative for The Brooklyn Kitchen and The Meat Hook

Some thoughts from those impacted: 
"As soon as we have the electricity we can start running a rest again. We'll start from scratch. There is literally nothing left in any corner of any refrigerator in our restaurant."
Michael Anthony, Executive Chef at Gramercy Tavern

"It is tough times. They are getting an influx of people who need food. Both the regular low-income people who normally need extra help. But also other people who just don't have access to electricity or stores."
Joel Berg, Executive Director of New York Coalition Against  Hunger

"It will be the complete overhaul of our beloved Red Hook store. It just breaks my heart."
Steve Jenkins, owner Fairway Market

"We have been doing our best to connect with our customers out there... we do have trucks coming back tonight with product still on them unfortunately."
Dana Stafford, General Manager & President of Regional Access Delivery

"Red Hook has put itself on the map not only for food and beverage businesses but all sorts of small businesses. So people are coming together...we had a meeting the other night to strategize about the best route to get the word out that people are struggling here and we are going to need some help."
Jon Feldman, Director of Operations of Stumptown Coffee Roasters

"The most important thing we can do right now for NYC is to be shopping at small businesses... this is the most support we need from our community. To get the word out to keep our businesses alive."
Allison Robicelli, Owner of Robicelli's

For all of our coverage of Hurricane Sandy and more, please visit For more information about, please call Erin Fairbanks at (718) 389-0985 or e-mail

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