Citing a 40 percent rate of overweight and obese Boston school children, Mayor Thomas Menino said more needs to be done to educate parents and children about better food choices.
Speaking during his first “State of the Food Union” address, Menino outlined food priorities for the city that would make Boston “the capital of good, healthy food.” Those city efforts included increasing access to fresh, reasonably priced food, supporting the food economy and changing city zoning to make it easier to use urban land for food agriculture.
Menino’s speech yesterday coincided with Food Day, a national effort by the Center for Science in the Public Interest to push for healthy affordable food produced in a sustainable and humane way.
The major issue, Menino said, was educating children before they are overfed advertisements for junk food and sugary drinks.
“One of the things that drives me crazy the most is driving to work in the morning and seeing [children] drinking soda and eating Doritos as they’re walking to the classrooms,” he said.
Menino pointed to some of the city’s current programs, such as removing soda from city buildings and changing school food vendors, as examples of Boston working toward a healthier diet — but he said there was more to be done.
“I’m proud of these programs, but … we need parents, teachers and kids to make the right food choices, banks to finance programs … and hospitals and universities to make local food sourcing a priority,” he said.
Get your food on
Other Food Day events in the Bay State:
Gov. Deval Patrick proclaimed yesterday as Massachusetts Food Day and helped launch the state’s Gleaning Network, a new project that will collect leftover crops at farms and provide them to emergency food providers.
Today marks the start of the city’s 25th annual Can Share food drive. To visit a list of places to donate, visit www.cityofboston.gov/food/canshare.