Another thing I love about my friend Sarah is her constant desire to learn more about the world. She always browses the New York Times online (something I need to be better about doing) and sends me interesting articles and editorials. We have a lot of shared interests, since we were both Human Services (non-profit management) majors; one of these shared interests is sustainable food systems and the consequences that it has on health, the economy, poverty, etc. She sent me this article about a ban on using food stamps to buy soda, which was a topic we often debated back in school.
In relation to this specific article, I can see the merits of both sides. Well I agree that the poor should not be stigmatized, we do have to keep in mind that the resources (i.e. food stamps) that we provide should be put to the best use possible to ensure that more of our resources (i.e. healthcare) are not required. One statement in the article that irked me was the implication that those who agree with Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal are not “advocates of the poor and underfed,” when in fact supporting his proposal may make you even stronger an advocate for their well-being.
Joel Berg said “city officials should reconsider how to increase the purchasing power of low-income residents so that they can buy food that is more nutritious.” I absolutely agree with that, as I’m sure most people would. The Double Dollars Program in DC, which doubles the value of food stamps at farmers’ markets, is a great incentive-based program that could be replicated throughout the country. Speaking of farmers’ markets, check out this interesting article (also sent to me by Sarah).
But aside from this particular article, I realized how much I value friendships that challenge me intellectually, politically, and socially. I love being able to transition from silly techno dancing to serious political debates…and back.