Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why ban when you can add and savor instead?

In Los Angeles, a City Council vote awaits on banning the construction of new fast food restaurants in many impoverished neighborhoods.

True, it is tough to find a decent head of nutritious arugula in the inner city. And the rationale behind the ban is to attract more healthful establishments to the region.

But why not just skip a step and start out with positive activities from the beginning, such as:
• Tax incentives or funding for farmers markets
• Partnering with grocers like Whole Foods, who could set up shop here as part of a feel-good corporate social responsibility program, or develop a Peapod-like grocery delivery service where public transportation is lacking
• Helping neighborhood entrepreneurs launch health-oriented restaurants or take-out establishments
• Afterschool cooking classes
• Community gardens
• Transforming school lunch into something like Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard

Breaking bread with friends and family is recognized as a pleasurable experience worldwide. So why not expand the food choices in these neighborhoods, then let the market decide? (Certainly the colon contingents will vote for fresh produce over Big Macs in the long run.)

But today’s War Against Fat makes no room (pardon the sorry pun) for pleasure. Common tactics instead seem to be restrict, micromanage, dictate, belittle and berate. “Put down that cheeseburger, you slob, or we of infinite knowledge will rip it from your hands!”

That’s motivational. Far more so than the thought of enjoying a tasty, nutritious, preservative-free salad or stir-fry.

(Of course, I write this with a Twizzler hanging out of my mouth. But I’m in Montgomery County, so it’s okay.)


At 4:27 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

I have a compromise idea: let them build more fast food restaurants, but don't make them earthquake proof.


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