On Saturday I attended the Just Foodconference. It was a two day event Friday and Saturday. I couldn't go Friday because I had to work. Just Food's mission is to promote sustainability in regards to food and water as well as usage of local and organic foods. Just Food does a lot of work with CSA, Community Gardens, farm schools etc.
I joked with my husband that I hoped that I wouldn't hear the O word during the conference. He responded the first person who mentioned it I should go up and punch them.
It didn't take long (Not to punch someone, I had not intention of hitting anyone).
I discovered that I had missed a panel on Friday from the NYC Obesity Taskforce. Had I known about it previously I might have taken the day off and gone both days. This is how the panel is described in the program:
Curious about the New York City Obesity Task Force plan to prevent and control obesity? The plan includes the identification of 15 municipal sites suitable for urban agriculture projects throughout the City’s five boroughs, which will be made available through GreenThumb for the participatory installation of new community gardens. Come participate in design charrette of an example site and discuss design elements and site development challenges.
Then came keynote speaker filmmaker Bryon Hurt who directed Soul Food Junkies. I will make a disclaimer that I haven't see the movie yet (I intend to). The movie examines the director's father refusing to change his eating habits despite a diagnosis of aggressive cancer, the history of Soul Food, and access to healthy foods, particularly in minority neighborhoods. In his talk, something the director wanted to do was a movie like Food Inc, King Corn, Supersize me, The Future of Food, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead but with a focus on the black community. The director did make a point that he tries not to be judgemental in the movie.
But the real question is this: what happens when we remove the subject of fatness from both events? The first one no longer becomes a program of making fat people thin but creating community gardens. The second becomes a talk about getting people better access to health foods. (BTW one of the clips Mr. Hurt showed during his talk is of a woman complaining that the vegetables in her local market are "pathetic." She complained, she met resistance, the quality of the produce improved.)
Community gardens, healthy eating, access to health food is the focus of any coherent health plan for the country, or it should be. Once you remove that idea and limit your focus to making fat people thin, we lose everything.
Even Michelle Obama is realizing that we need to focus on health not weight.
According to The Huffington Post, Mrs. Obama told her hangout audience, "I have two young daughters. We never talk about weight. I make it a point. I don't want our children to be weight-obsessed. I want them to be focused on: What do I have to do, in this body --because everybody is different, every person's body is different-- what do I have to do to be the healthiest that I can be."