Holly Freishtat may be the "food czar" of Baltimore, but she's also finding herself near the front of a nationwide charge for healthier cities across the country.
The Salt, National Public Radio's food blog, recently interviewed the 2007 Food and Community Fellow about her work in Baltimore and how it's blossoming into a movement. The NPR story attributes her influence in part to successful, innovative efforts like Baltimore's Virtual Supermarket, which creates healthy food access in lacking communities though internet commerce.
Though federal food and agricultural policy can be notoriously resistant to change, local governments across the country are increasingly taking matters into their own hands to improve food access, food security, health, and food-related entrepreneurship--especially for low-income residents. These constitute many of the explicit goals of the new Food Policy Task Force just created by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. A growing number of major U.S. cities have similar task forces of their own; together, they hope to share ideas, best practices, and eventually to foster some collective influence on national food policies.
Freishtat also urges city-dwellers to realize that the Farm Bill has just as much relevance for urban America as anywhere else. Her work, which has been embraced wholeheartedly by the Baltimore mayor and set an excellent example for other cities, shows that supportive city governments can make a big difference in local food systems and human health.
(Image reproduced from baltimorestyle.com)