Monday, February 15, 2010

Food Rulz

Don't hate me because I live and eat in Northern California. I know I'm lucky. I would never whine about it like writer Damon Darlin did Sunday in the NY Times.
Lucky
Michael Pollan lives around here too and he has published a LOT about food and its relationship with individual health, public health and the environment.
I do take advantage of at least one food-related local luxury : I grow veggies year-round. The greens pictured have been under my pseudo cold frame since late January. I am ridiculously proud that I grew the Gailan (a yummy Chinese broccoli) in the foreground from seed.
 
Having my favorite types of greens available fresh and untainted is an enormous incentive to eat well. But I know it's an uncommon scenario.23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited.
 
The link between availability and consumption of healthful food has been demonstrated. The scary links between unhealthful eating and American health problems continue to pile up. Who's working on improving the situation? Here are some voices I've heard recently on the subject of sustainable agriculture and healthful food:
 
1. Food Democracy Now! (sic) has street cred (farm cred?) - it was started by Iowa farmers.
...a grassroots movement initiated by farmers, writers, chefs, eaters and policy advocates who recognize the profound sense of urgency in creating a new food system that is capable of meeting the changing needs of American society as it relates to food, health, animal welfare and the environment. (emphasis mine)
2. Chef Jamie Oliver wowed 'em at the TED Conference. Oliver has a clear agenda and apparently a staff of researchers. Thanks for the link, GrrlScientist.

3. Oliver's agenda is similar to that of local "agitators" California Food Policy Advocates who have amassed almost 10 years of data about "improving the health and well being of low-income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious and affordable food" 

4. Data provided by the Yale University Rudd Center is at the heart of many of these activities.

5.
Last but definitely not least, props to First Lady Michelle Obama (or, as I call her, "First Gardener") who recently launched LET'S MOVE (sic) to reduce childhood obesity. The campaign created materials for kids including an informational yet raucous hip-hop cartoon "Breakfast Time." 

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