Mark's Food Policy Blog

Finding Solutions to Today's Food System Challenges

2017 Appearances and Updates – Summer and Fall

Santa Fe is hotter than a Big Jim green chile right now. Like packs of thirsty dogs, people are slouching through the streets with their tongues dangling. They are finding relief by sipping cool margaritas, and waiting reverently for the summer monsoons to begin. And most certainly the cooling storms will arrive – just as I’m leaving town, no doubt, for the muggier corners of America. Here’s a look at the places I’ll soon be, as well as a brief look back at some places I’ve been. And as I’ve said before on this screen, I’m always willing to let you take me out for a beer if I happen to be in your neighborhood. Please stay in touch!

June 25 – 30, Baltimore, MD: I’ll be spending some time with my colleagues at the Center for a Livable Future. Among our tasks will be hosting two trainings in Silver Springs, MD. The first, on June 27, will be on food waste recovery policies led by the legal eagles at the Harvard Law Food Policy Clinic. On June 28, we’ll be offering a fundraising workshop. Both trainings are open to people in the Chesapeake Bay region engaged in local or state food policy work. For more information contact Karen Bassarab at kbanks10@jhu.edu.

July 27 & 28, Hartford, CT: The American Community Gardening Association is bringing me back to the streets and gardens of my former home town for a keynote address at their annual conference. For more information go to https://communitygarden.org/.

Santa Fe Soda Tax Fizzles

Little towns seem to only get national attention when something goes dramatically wrong. Such was the case with Santa Fe which ran the wrong way against the prevailing trend of cities passing soda taxes, e.g. Philadelphia and Boulder. Soundly defeated by a margin of 58% to 42%, Santa Fe’s two cents per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages drowned in a sticky cauldron of Coke cash and voter backlash. The public’s rejection garnered numerous national headlines and questions about what went wrong in a place as “progressive” as Santa Fe. As I pointed out in my March blog post http://www.markwinne.com/should-the-food-movement-embrace-soda-taxes/ the Santa Fe tax would not have provided a dime to healthy eating campaigns as both Boulder’s successful ballot measure did and, more recently, as Seattle’s will.

My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Santa Fe’s voters were confused. A typical thought process went like this: “All the tax revenue will fund early childhood education programs; you want me to drink less soda, right, which is the reason for the tax, but if I drink too much “less” soda then you have less money for education, right? And, by the way, the people who drink more soda are low to middle income residents who would presumably benefit the most from more childhood education programs. In other words, like all sales taxes, this one is regressive. And none of your campaign literature said anything about preventing obesity and diabetes which also does more harm to lower income people than it does to higher income. I don’t get it!” A stronger link to positive health outcomes might have turned the tables. Maybe.

So, who were the winners? No one other than Santa Fe’s economy which took in about $3 million for ads and other campaign promotions from groups such as the National Beverage Association (anti-tax) and the Michael Bloomberg Foundation (pro-tax).

Arizona Food Summit

As I said in my April blog post http://www.markwinne.com/winne-banned-in-arizona/ the Arizona Department of Agriculture “disinvited” me from speaking at the statewide anti-hunger summit in late April. My thanks to Gary Paul Nabhan who organized a boycott of the Summit. After getting the news, Nabhan said in a blog post, “We must respectfully ask ADA Director Mark Killian to reinvite Mark and apologize to him, and to finally put Native American, Hispanic, Black and women farmers on its governing board, its staff (in greater numbers) and its grant decision-making review committees, not just on ‘tokenist’ advisory committees.”

No luck on the “reinvite” or apology, but I do hope that AZ’s food advocates have success with remaking a good-ole boy department packed to the gills with ranchers and corporate food interests into a public body that truly looks like the people who make up Arizona’s food system. One less than respectful Summit attendee posted a question on a digital board located directly behind the speaker’s podium. Just as Director Killian was addressing the smaller than expected crowd, a message flashed, “Where’s Mark Winne?”

August 10 – 13, Atlanta, GA: Netroots Nations. I’ll be doing a workshop with other panelists on turning a food desert into a food oasis. Thanks to Kwabena Nkrono of Atlanta Food and Farm PBC for bringing this together. Check out https://www.eventbrite.com/e/netroots-nation-2017-registration-24407407212 for more information.

September 25 & 26, Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Cooperative Extension is hosting an Indiana Food Summit Workshop on food policy that I will lead. For more information contact Jodee Ellett at jellett@purdue.edu.

November 9, Jefferson County, Colorado: The Jefferson County Food Policy Council is hosting a one-day planning event called “Imagine Jeffco’s Food Future.” I will be giving a keynote and facilitating the discussion. For more information, contact Marion Kalb at mlkalb@co.jefferson.co.us.

November 13, Portland, ME: The University of Southern Maine in Portland will be inaugurating its Food Studies Program with a speakers’ series that I will join. For more information contact Lisa Lindenschmidt at lmlinden@maine.edu.

December 5 – 7, Boston, MA: Community Food Systems Conference, Boston Park Plaza Hotel. My CLF colleagues and I will be running a pre-conference session on Dec. 5 on local and state food policy and food policy councils. For more information about the conference contact Kristen Irvin at Kristen.irvin@tufts.edu.

Seoul South Korea Announces its Food Charter

Over the past 12 years I have had the huge honor of going to South Korea on three different occasions to work with government officials and non-governmental food advocates. Past blogs have chronicled my adventures from eating live seafood to meeting with numerous politicians on all sides of Korea’s vibrant political spectrum. Korea is a beautiful country that takes its food security deadly seriously – no square foot of land goes unplanted and people have died in this century to protect the country’s food sovereignty. So, it is with a proud sense of shared accomplishment that I announce that the country’s capital, the City of Seoul, has put forward a food charter. I don’t know the details, nor do I have much contact information, but you can see a little more on my Facebook page as well as at http://news.kbs.co.kr/news/view.do?ncd=3501266&ref=A. Good luck to my good friends in South Korea!

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1 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. John Buschman
    June 22, 2017 at 8:37 am #

    Thanks for the updates Mark. I hope you will blog on the June 27th event in Maryland on food waste recovery policies; I expect there should be some interesting and useful discussion worth sharing!

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