Heard from a representative from 39th Ward alderman Margaret Laurino on the proposed "green food resolution" she introduced to her Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities that I wrote about yesterday.
Nonbinding and all pro local-food-is-good-for-you, it sounded swell in theory, and why the hell not? But with its curious and disturbing connection to New York-based animal rights group Farm Sanctuary, deep-pocketed backers of the late foie gras ban, one had to wonder if something else was going on.
The rep, Manuel Galvan, wanted to stress that Laurino was inspired by the dedication of a community garden in her ward, and that "The resolution does not discourage food from animals. And to quote alderman Laurino, 'I love a good steak.'"
Last week, the committee heard testimony from Liz Mills, executive director of the garden's Irving Park Carlson Ministries, and did not vote on the resolution, which was first introduced in March. Its language is not identical to Farm Sanctuary's suggested template, but the gist is pretty much the same: industrial agriculture and food deserts = bad; farmers' markets, community gardens, and "plant-based foods" = good. Again, it's hard to argue with that, but what's the point? See for yourself:
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago strives to be a A Green City@ that includes promoting health, nutrition, and lifestyles that are ecologically sustainable; and
WHEREAS, traditional food and farming systems that use pesticides and other chemicals have significant impacts on our health and ecological well-being; and
WHEREAS, research indicates that there are growing environmental and health concerns for the products produced by industrial agriculture; and
WHEREAS, many communities in the City of Chicago are considered “food deserts”, with lack of readily affordable fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods; and
WHEREAS, neighborhood gardens and Farmer=s Markets promote stability and sustainability in communities by teaching residents marketable skills and encouraging healthy and nutritious eating habits; and
WHEREAS, shifting toward plant based agriculture consumption can and will serve the environment; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chicago City Council encourages individuals, civic associations, and community based organizations to grow local, organic gardens, and institutions and businesses to offer more plant based foods; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chicago City Council promotes the expansion of the number of Farmers= Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, community gardens, and other venues which provide healthful plant based foods.