By Tracie McMillan
Daily Intelligencer • April 2, 2007
The Alice Watersization of New York cuisine is continuing apace, and now it’s spreading to decidedly un-haute cuisine. Now that the budget is done, Albany leaders are finalizing a deal to give New York its first statewide Food Policy Council, charged with spreading the local-and-organic movement to corner bodegas and other places where lower-income New Yorkers shop. A Friday announcement by state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker explained that the new body will coordinate the mind-numbing minutiae involved in favorite sustainable-food efforts like getting New York State apples to the neighborhood deli and ensuring that community-supported agriculture-buying clubs are affordable to the poor.
That last bit helped sell the plan to legislators less interested in dining at Chez Panisse than in combating low-income obesity — which is actually lending a little class tension to the plan. “The question is, is it just going to be a food-quality and local-food focus, or is it going to have a key anti-poverty focus?” asked Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “I hope this really doesn’t end up a yuppie thing.” Sigh. Doesn’t everything around here these days?