I’m not usually one to swoon over local government, but the latest initiatives from the Offices of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer are awfully attractive.

In Honor of the Wintry Wind Gusts Today - Image by Crafternoon

This week Quinn introduced a program entitled, “FoodWorks New York.”  According to the press release, “Outside of the U.S. military, New York City is the largest institutional buyer of food in the country.  The Department of Education alone serves over 860,000 meals a day.”

It turns out that the Dept. of Ed. is setting up an increasing number of salad bars in the schools.  Great news — but all the romaine lettuce comes from Maryland and California.  They would buy the lettuce in New York state, however, there are no facilities for washing, cutting, and packing it in our region.  As a result, we’re carting this produce around the country before it gets to New York lunches.  The FoodWorks program aims to fix these broken links in the local supply chain.  In The Case of the Well-Traveled Romaine, the city has plenty of empty industrial space that could house the needed processing facility.

To learn more and read about the five goals of FoodWorks New York, please find the press release here.

The next object of my admiration is the The NYC Sustainable Food Charter created by the Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.  It has been enthusiastically circulated in preparation for the NYC Food and Climate Summit tomorrow.  It means a lot to me to live in a place that sets these priorities for its people.  I’m looking forward to the gathering of the NYC tribes at the Summit.  The Food Charter has set our agenda.

Right now, in the window of the Whole Foods Market in Union Square, there’s a giant man holding a green bag.  He’s got standards and he’s having them for dinner.

Now I appreciate a good standard — and have a few of my own — but what if someone can not afford the high standard prices of Whole Foods?  Shouldn’t everyone be allowed the standard of pesticide-free food?  Or the pure nourishment of food, rather than the filler calories of food science?  High fructose corn syrup may make a food cheap, but it doesn’t make a body healthy.

On Saturday, December 12th, these issues and others will be addressed at the “NYC Food and Climate Summit,” hosted by New York University, Just Food, and the President of the Borough of Manhattan.  Clean food is a right for all, and more and more, it’s an imperative for our planet.  So, how will we get there?  I’m excited for this day-long event because the organizers have lined up both practical topics, i.e., “talking to reporters about meat practices” and public policy issues such as, “The Food Collar Economy.”  I’d love to know if you plan to attend – what do you think?

Note: The WTF sticker is not part of official Whole Foods marketing