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‘Department of Food’ could be appetizing for U.S. cities

(Daniel Parks/flickr/cc)

Cities have departments for education, transportation, health, sanitation, water, social services and other essentials. So why not a Department of Food?

Samina Raja, associate professor for urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo in New York, noshes on the idea in an essay for The Conversation. The online publication features the work of academics and researchers.

Raja notes that more than 17 million U. S. households can barely afford to eat and that fast food and snacks are the most widely available options in low-income neighborhoods. “Yet, local governments pay little systemic attention to the one resource most essential for all Americans’ well-being: food,” she writes.

The professor reasons that since the dearth of fresh food in poor communities is due to inadequate urban planning, cities have an obligation to play a larger role on nutrition. Raja is director of Growing Food Connections, a five-year, federally funded project that aims to help eight struggling U. S. communities introduce farm-fresh offerings.

The Conversation

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