What place does the government have in regulating our food or eating habits?
Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, has a reputation as something of a political activist; whether on health care, gay rights, or the environment, he is a leader who tends to take aggressive action, not always waiting for political capital or popular opinion. And now, he is applying that attitude to an increasingly pressing issue—health and food policy.
As the San Francisco Chronicle
reports, Newsom is using the power of his office to enforce healthier eating standards across city government—and across San Francisco. Any food served in city offices must follow Health Department guidelines: fewer cookies, more fresh fruit. Inefficiently used city land will be surveyed with an eye towards developing small local growing plots. Even jails and homeless centers will get a nutritional upgrade.
Is this too much, coming from the top? Newsom has already banned the purchase of bottled water
with city funds, and signed into effect America's first ordinance requiring all residents to compost
. Still, some residents and city employees balk at such heavy-handed legislation.
Clearly, goals of healthy eating, responsible land use, and waste reduction are causes we can all support. That said, his methods remain controversial.