Monday, May 05, 2008

Carts Before Horse

In the NY post today, the paper writes about the DOH effort to put veggie carts in targeted neighborhoods. It's all related of course to the overall city effort to combat the health issues that emanate from New York's obesity crisis. As the Post tells us: "Some 10,000 New Yorkers were asked: "How many servings of fruits and vegetables did you eat yesterday?" In nine of 12 Bronx neighborhoods, more than 15 percent answered, "None...." Cathy Nonas, Health Department director of physical activity and nutrition, isn't surprised. "If you don't get exposure to these foods, you grow up not eating them," she said. "Every time there's been fruits and vegetables introduced [in a poor neighborhood], it's been successful."

Now we understand that the city sees this cartology as part of a multi-faceted approach to the health crisis. From our vantage point, however, it's misguided because it fails to address the primary issue: the disappearing supermarkets. In fact, as we've pointed out elsewhere, one targeted area for produce peddlers is Soundview, a community very much in danger of losing a major supermarket that sells over $2 million worth of fresh produce every year.

The city needs to move very fast on this issue, and not look to proliferating peddlers as anything but a distraction at best. At worst, it is a direct threat to those very same markets that the city sees in a dangerous state of hemorrhaging.