California’s Medically Tailored Meals pilot program could lead the medical industry, and especially insurers, to include nutrition as part of overall health care.
When a student doesn’t have enough money for lunch, cafeteria staff in many school districts take away the child’s tray of hot food and hand the student a brown paper bag containing a cold cheese sandwich and a small milk.
Thanksgiving is our national food-focused holiday–but Los Angeles has an all-year-round reputation for food obsessions: Paleo diets. Veganism. Juicing. Fasting. Fusion food trucks, kimchi pizza, chorizo-filled potstickers with duck sauce reduction (yes, that is a real recipe).
What gets a lot less foodie press, though, is the City of Los Angeles’s innovation in creating one of the most progressive food policies in the nation.
Cities around the country have established programs to improve the availability of nutritious food for residents and set ethical and environmental standards for the suppliers to the multitude of public institutions that feed millions every year. In 2012 the city established the L.A. Food Policy Council to develop an equitable food policy for Los Angeles and to answer some key questions: How does a city that buys tons of food every year define “locally grown” food? How do purchasing policies sustain small farmers?
Under the deceptively bland headline, “House GOP Releases Ag Budget,” the center-right Politico website on Monday examined a proposed House Republican budget for agriculture and food safety programs. After noting that the bill would give a measly $3 million increase to efforts to regulate the derivatives market ($62 million less than the Commodity Futures Trading Commission requested), writer David Rogers reported that the GOP measure would make it easier for schools to adopt lower nutritional standards for their meal programs — and for starch bombs like white potatoes to be included as vegetables that are covered by a Women, Infants and Children supplemental feeding program.
Only way down, in the story’s fourth paragraph, did Rogers mention that, “in a surprising twist,” the House Republicans required that a pilot program to feed school children from low-income families during summer vacation be restricted to kids living in rural Appalachia. In other words,