Posts Tagged ‘food politics’

Speak Up TODAY for School Lunch

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee is debating Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s legislation to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act. Unfortunately, Sen. Lincoln’s $4.5 billion bill falls well short of the $10 billion requested by President Obama and amounts to only 6 cents more per meal per child. (Read more here.) Take two minutes TODAY to send an email via Slow Food USA’s Time for Lunch action site and urge your Senators to step up to the plate for school lunch!

A Market by the White House (and a wish for more to come)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

penn quarter farmers market dcAll politics is local, they say, and nothing is more political these days than local food. FreshFarm Markets announced last night that they are, in fact, opening their ninth market on Vermont Ave. in DC, just steps away from the White House. The vendors, as identified by Capital Spice, are familiar to anyone who shops DC’s existing markets, ranging from organic and quasi-organic produce to bakeries, dairy and meat producers. The White House involvement was downplayed in the news release, and reportedly seems to be limited to a “hope” that assistant chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass will appear for cooking demonstrations. The press release, did, however, invoke the symbolism of the new market’s location saying, “This is the culmination of a long journey for FRESHFARM Markets, which has brought farmers into the center of Washington, DC, where policy is made.” Intrigued by the suggestion that perhaps FreshFarm was opening this market as a volley into political advocacy in support of increasing access to fresh foods*, I obtained this follow-up explanation from founder and co-director Ann Yonkers:

“We think the farmers presence in the center of Washington, DC, is the best answer to many policy questions about how we should eat.  There’s no need to talk, one bite of the delicious local food and the argument for fresh and local is made.”

No need to talk? Maybe members of Congress won’t shuttle across town, bite into an apple from Spring Valley Farm & Orchard, and suddenly be inspired to rush back to the drawing board to come with an extra billion dollars to double the funding for school lunches. But perhaps tourists who drop by the new market will be inspired to go home and write their legislators to urge their support for farm-to-school and healthy lunch programs. If so, then the market will achieve more than just symbolic change. We do need to talk, and loudly, to change our food policy for the better.

I love farmers markets, and I agree they are powerful for creating sustainable local communities. I commend FreshFarm Markets for the work they’ve done to grow the local foods movement in DC. I just continue to hope that the White House will work to extend their reach into the communities in Washington who still don’t have access to fresh produce. Let’s make the White House farmers market more than just a symbol.

*Note: As with several of their existing markets, FreshFarm Markets will double the value of Food Stamps, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons at the new market and offer a gleaning program to benefit Miriam’s Kitchen.

P.S. Don’t forget it’s Fight Back Friday over at the Food Renegade – go check it out!

Announcing “Blog for the Bay” on Wednesday, April 22!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Can you imagine DC cuisine without soft shells, crab cakes and crab pickin’? Neither can we!

blog for the bayCalling all District foodies! FoodieTots and The Arugula Files will be co-hosting “Blog for the Bay” this Wednesday, April 22. Please join local food advocates on Earth Day and help rally District foodies to support clean water in the Chesapeake Bay. To participate, simply post about the Chesapeake Bay (a favorite memory, favorite place to eat crabs, best crab cake recipe, anything!) and include a link to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s petition urging the EPA to quit delaying action to help save our Bay. Please mention “Blog for the Bay” in your post and link to hosts and Feel free to use the graphic as well (just right click to save to your computer, and upload to your own server).

See the Facebook event page or contact for more details. Links will also be posted in round-ups on and, and will be updated throughout the day. Please help us spread the word and check back on Wednesday for the “Blog for the Bay” round-up!

Slow Food Cliff Notes

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

While CNN may have been distracted by some political events taking place in Denver and Minneapolis, all eyes in the locavore world were on San Francisco this past weekend, where Slow Food Nation attempted to show the world what eating real food means. Slow Food International was founded in Italy as a protest to the country’s first McDonald’s. It has become a controversial organization for numerous reasons, and while there is not much disagreement with its mission, many criticize the techniques and lack of political activism. I believe Slow Food events are important to highlight and celebrate the best of what’s locally available, but there is so, so much more to be done to make good food more readily available. I know those topics were addressed at the convention and I’m looking forward to reading more about them from bloggers who attended. My favorite “Slow Food” post of the weekend was this inspiring account by Sam of Becks & Posh of a day spent living the philosophy, not just listening to it.

For more about Slow Food Nation:

  • A Mighty Appetite has a quick primer on the Slow Food organization
  • Alice Q. Foodie has a great overview of the Slow Food mission and philosophy – plus daily recaps of Slow Food Nation. She touches on the affordability issue as well, saying:

Slow Food’s current stated goal is now “clean, fair food for all” – affordable is sometimes thrown in there, though that can be a bit of a landmine, because Slow Food is ALSO about fair payment to food producers for their artisanal goods. That, as we all know – can require one to part with a “fair” amount of money, and I don’t mean that in the social justice sense.

Participating in the One Local Summer challenge this summer let us focus on incorporating “slow” foods into our family’s daily meals, and we’ll continue to do so throughout the fall and winter even though the challenge has come to an end.