I am wholeheartedly a huge fan of Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker. It’s so refreshing to see a politician who walks the talk and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty for what he believes in. He is constantly out there, cruising the streets with the local police, is actively in contact with the people of the city to help them get what they need, and even opened his home to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Today, Mayor Booker begins a 1-week experiment to eat on the amount of money given by the state of NJ to those in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (aka “food stamps”). This began as the result of a comment by someone on Twitter who seemed incredulous that there are people who can’t afford to have breakfast, and believes that the government shouldn’t have to help people nourish themselves.
Rates of obesity and disease are at an all-time high in our country, with no end in sight. Very often, it seems so easy to tell people how to become healthier: eat more fruits and veggies! … drink more water! … buy organic! … eat more raw foods! … take these supplements! …
But the reality for many people is that they don’t have the means or access to good quality produce, or even if they do, they have to lug the bags on the bus or along the street to get them home. Many of our cities are true food deserts, with the only accessible stores being convenience stores that are full of processed and packaged foods. And many people are trying to feed whole families on barely a subsistence level of income.
I applaud Mayor Booker for venturing into this territory, to bring awareness to what far too many people are dealing with on a daily basis. For this week, he will eat on the alloted amount of $4.32 per day, and decline all offers of meals & food that are outside of that amount. He will also shop only at stores that he can get to on foot or by bus.
He’s going to be documenting his experiences on social media ~ LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and through video on #waywire. To read a brief description of what he will be doing, in his own words, go here.
Oh, and Mayor Booker is also a vegetarian… not yet vegan, but perhaps that will come in time 🙂