“What if every resident of Oneida County had access to fresh, safe, locally produced food that is distributed in a just and sustainable manner?”“Just?”
“What if farming, food processing/distribution and culinary tourism were engines for the economic rebirth of Upstate New York? What if we could do all of this while contributing to a healthy environment, fighting diet related illnesses and creating “green collar” jobs that can’t be outsourced?
“Today, Rust To Green Utica announced the creation and kick off meeting of New York State’s first local Food Policy Council to work toward these goals.”Don't you love seeing “Utica Greens” on the menu in Albany, Syracuse, or Rochester? Or hearing “Utica” mentioned on TV as Rachel Ray whips up her version of Chicken Riggies? Utica has long had a reputation for great food and restaurants that has drawn people from out of the area . . . a reputation that has steadily grown over the years, as Utica's diverse ethnic groups mature in their new home and open their own businesses. We have no count of how many boxes of mouth-watering Florentine, Caruso, or Cafe Canole pastries or cookies get sent all across the country – as do Manny's Cheesecakes -- but you know this happens often. O'Scugnizzo Pizzas get airlifted! People come to Utica with coolers to stock up on meats at Joe's and Hapanowicz. Although declining in numbers over the years (perhaps NY could reduce its taxes and regulations to keep them here?), we still have a lot of local farms for apples, corn, squash, strawberries, potatoes, etc. There are also tours of the Utica Brewery, Omegang Brewery, maple syrup making . . .There is the MV Garlic Festival every summer in Little Falls, and Riggie and Greens Fests in Utica. Do I have to go on?
Just . . . where has R2G been, anyway? Some ivory tower at Cornell? The Utica area already has these things . . . produced by the efforts of PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. Is that the problem? Does R2G really think that it can do better -- without getting grants of taxpayer dollars?
“Food is a basic human need along with adequate shelter, a safe environment and clean water. Yet, our local governments in New York have no comprehensive planning process to ensure access to healthy foods for all residents. No local government has a ‘Department of Food’ and the programs that address hunger, nutrition, agriculture and food sector labor conditions are spread across many agencies and jurisdictions.”I don't know of anyone who does not have access to “healthy” food . . . or is the stuff at Chanatry's, Hannaford's, Price Chopper, Aldi's, Save-a-Lot, etc., somehow not healthy? If so, why have we not read about it? Is the unhealthiness of our food being kept from us by a secretive media on the take? We have a local Department of Health, State and National Depts. of Agriculture, and the FDA to keep food safe. . . . or is there something planned in the recent Food Safety and Modernization Act that will take our food away? Perhaps the R2G/Food Policy Council feels that some of our Utica specialties mentioned above are "unhealthy" and need to be replaced with their food selections? . . . produced and/or promoted by their "partners?"
Just . . . where is the need for a “comprehensive planning process” and a “Department of Food” ?
Just - ification for this program seems to be some recent USDA statistics, but this is clearly related to the 10% unemployment situation and not anything wrong with our food production and distribution network. We have a Dept. of Social Services and all sorts of Federal Welfare programs to ensure that people don't go hungry. We also have a network of food pantries, charitable organizations, school breakfast/lunch programs, and churches that feed the hungry. People are given food stamps by the government. Is there suddenly a shortage of food stamps? Can't the Feds simply print more (since they seem to be printing more dollars)? If people are hungry, how are the Feds distributing food stamps? Dare I say it? How are people spending their food stamps, if hunger has taken a jump? The "Food Policy Council" seems to be merely more "piling on" . . .
I'm interested in hearing R2G's proposals for protecting the environment and “sustainability” (a mis-used word in my estimation). We can all learn from others who “think out of the box.”
But I get suspicious when environmental protection, food, health care, education, etc. seem to become excuses for political movements and agendas.
This isn't JUST about food . . . is it?