On Wednesday, November 3, former Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams officially became the first vegan mayor of New York City.
Adams has been vegan since 2016 and, in addition to supporting animal welfare issues, brings his plant-based perspective to the office of mayor. To celebrate his win, Adams headed to Marinello’s Gourmet Deli in Brooklyn where he ate the Plant-Based Mayor’s Wrap—a new vegan breakfast option made with Just EGG and potato-based vegan queso by LOCA Foods.* The wrap ($4.99) was developed by Plantega—a food justice-motivated initiative that brings vegan food to bodegas across NYC—and it will be available until November 10 at Marinello’s and Silver Moon Deli in Manhattan.
“Throughout the campaign, I’ve spoken repeatedly about my health journey,” Adams said in a statement. “After adopting a plant-based diet, I was able to reverse my type 2 diabetes, which changed not only the trajectory of my life, but also my career as a public servant. I am now committed to spreading that message and empowering New Yorkers in every zip code to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Adams initially went vegan to combat the debilitating symptoms he experienced after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As Brooklyn Borough President, Adams has helped his constituents and fellow New Yorkers gain control of their health through several initiatives, including spearheading a plant-based medicine program within NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, the city’s largest medical system.
In May, Adams also authorized a $10,000 discretionary grant to support plant-based nutrition education at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine. The funds helped establish the Food as Medicine Initiative, a supplemental program to the existing nutrition curriculum, which teaches future medical professionals the healing power of plant-based foods.
To help children gain access to plant-based foods, Adams also worked with former NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to implement Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn, a program the then mayor expanded to all 1,700 NYC public schools in 2019. That year, Adams also spearheaded Resolution 238, which called upon the Department of Education to remove processed meat such as bologna, pepperoni, and hot dogs from public school menus citywide.
Helping NYC get healthier with plant-based programs.
In his role as mayor, Adams will use his experience of overcoming serious illness with a plant-based diet to inform policy. “I don’t believe the government should tell you what you can have on your grill in your backyard on Saturday. What the government should do is not feed the crises,” Adams told local outlet GrubStreet in a recent interview. “So we can’t have a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma and a Department of Education preparing 960,000 meals a day that cause childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma. So what you do with your dollar is up to you. But on taxpayers’ dollars, we should not be feeding a health-care crisis.”
Outside of his political career, Adams is also a published author and recently released Healthy at Last, a book in which he details his plant-based transformation, speaks about the issue of diet-related chronic diseases as they affect communities of color, and shares more than 50 vegan recipes. To further expand his message beyond NYC, Adams has also appeared in several documentaries that promote plant-based living, including the upcoming film They’re Trying to Kill Us—which examines the intersections of diet, poverty, and systemic racism.
“Like many New Yorkers, my life has been full of struggles. It wasn’t always easy. My mom worked her fingers to the bone cleaning houses to raise six children, all on her own,” Adams said in a statement when he announced his run for mayor last year. “But we persevered—because that’s what New Yorkers do. Now the city is in pain. And I know I can help because I have lived the life of the people who are hurting the most. I have seen what works and what doesn’t in this city. To be truly progressive, we have to fix [the] government and eliminate the inefficiencies that are holding us back.”
Victory has never tasted better. To help further inspire and celebrate his taking office, Plantega, a turnkey solution empowering New York City’s corner stores/bodegas to sell plant-based food via a unique retail and foodservice model, has dedicated a celebratory, special edition, limited-time wrap in his honor.
“Throughout the campaign, I’ve spoken repeatedly about my health journey. After adopting a plant-based diet, I was able to reverse my type 2 diabetes, which changed not only the trajectory of my life, but also my career as a public servant. I am now committed to spreading that message and empowering New Yorkers in every zip code to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Mayor-Elect Eric Adams.
“COVID has thrown many of the inequities in our food system into sharp relief. We must address the disparities in access to healthy food which fall hardest on lower-income and Black and Brown communities. This change has to happen at a systemic level by transforming the environment in which New Yorkers consume food, from our schools and hospitals to our beloved neighborhood bodegas. Plantega’s innovative approach takes incredible steps to get us there — making plant-based food more accessible by empowering local businesses. I look forward to seeing Plantega’s vision of democratizing access to healthy, sustainable food in collaboration with bodegas, innovative food companies, urban farms, and public and private institutions come to life in the years ahead.”