Sunday, December 28, 2014

Food stamp variation

Eldest Daughter suggested that surplus or in-season food could be made into 2-fer or discounted deals for food stamp use. It seemed to her a non-paternalist way to encourage healthier eating, since currently the cheapest calories per buck tend to be "junk food." "Junk food" isn't so great if you're susceptible to type 2 diabetes, as it turns out a surprising number of us are.

A quick survey didn't show that anybody tries this, which is a bit surprising. Maybe it's a problem of coordination between federal funding and the states: the state may have in-season foods that other states don't and the feds are one size fits all?


The Mad Soprano said...

I remember two years ago when Chef Short mention this in class, one of my classmates said "Good, people shouldn't be using their food stamps to buy junk food,". It was probably the most judgmental thing I have ever heard in my life, largely on account of the young man's tone of voice.

Mom told me two stories on this topic. The first one was a case where someone wrote to Ann Landers saying that he saw two people use their food stamps to buy a cake and a bag of shrimp respectively. Landers decided to let her readers tackle this, and was a classic case of Be-Careful-What-You-Say. It turned out that the women buying the cake had a daughter ho was dying of cancer, this birthday may well be her last, so she wanted to get something she knew the girl would enjoy. The other woman said that usually bought cheap items with her food stamps, but for this one particular special occasion decided to bring a treat.

The other story was about our old church friend (the one who owned that huge community garden next to where Four B now is). She worked with poor women in our old neighborhood and showed them how to use their food stamps to buy good food. She taught them how to read labels and understand what is in the food. And she did it in a very kind and loving way.

This Food Stamp bill sounds like another unworkable cure-all.

james said...

I didn't actually reference the bill, but it was aimed at restricting uses.