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View Diary: Meet The Press Embarrasses Bobby Jindal & Republican Policies–Puts More On Food Stamps (VIDEO (99 comments)

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  •  Can food stamps in LA (5+ / 0-)

    be used to purchase fresh foods? Getting 'redemption' privilege to CSAs, grower's and farmer's markets and fresh trucks would help many of the poor who live in urban food deserts, where junk is all there is.

    In the south-south, particularly in densely populated low-rent areas - talking 25 years ago or so - enterprising produce marketers (with or without a couple of coolers of day-old crabs) would load a flatbed or slat-bed truck with whatever's left and drive it slowly down a central-but-side street near dusk, selling less-than week old produce for very little. In one predominantly black neighborhood we lived in, it was a regular hit-the-street get-together two evenings a week and everyone looked forward to the fresh truck's visits. If you were driving through, you'd find another street. It almost always left empty.

    Perhaps falling life expectancy reflects poor diet as a factor. An awful lot of fine fruits and veggies are grown in the south. Many of the poorest people in the south have no regular access to them. I hope they haven't made fresh trucks and tent-markets illegal these days.

    •  Mr. Okra makes daily rounds... (10+ / 0-) my neighborhood in NOLA. His produce is farm-fresh from local growers, and reasonably priced considering that he pulls up in front of your house with a decent selection of seasonal produce to choose from...

      On the other hand, many neighborhoods in NOLA are "food deserts" - areas where grocery stores and alternatives with a full range of foods are rare or simply not there.

      Even my neighborhood - with Mr. Okra, a food co-op, a small grocery, a couple dozen corner groceries, and a small weekly farmers market - is almost a food desert when folks consider the population size and the availability of healthy fresh foods.

      And everyone knows that folks in NOLA like to eat and we're pretty good at cookin', so it ain't like there isn't an unmet demand...


      •  Ah, I love Mr. Okra! (6+ / 0-)

        That's what I'm talkin' about. The crabs would never make it to the end of the block. Hub and I had a fresh shrimp truck for awhile, back when he was working a boat early morning and we were caretaking the dock. Between leftovers (not 'pink' after a day, but well kept on ice) and by-catch, I never ate so much seafood - and gave it away - in my life!

        But melons and greens and pumpkins and squash and oranges and peaches and collards and fat sweet onions... just can't beat it fresh and it was literally pennies on the dollar on the street. We used to sometimes pool the goodies (including baby 'taters) and have block parties - everybody with something going in the front yard by the curb, we'd just walk around with our bowls and fill up here, fill up there, talk to the folks...

        Once I got two big crates of onions given to me from the farmer's market in town, slightly moldy on the outside. Two neighbors and I promptly cleaned and sliced 'em, made a huge canner-sized pot of Onion Stew over a portable grill in my driveway. Onions and water, salt and a little butter being the only original ingredients. By dinnertime it was a regular masterpiece after everyone on the block had donated something to go into it (two ham hocks and heavy on the greens), plus biscuits from across the street. Not a drop of leftovers!

        Fresh markets aren't a deal in this country as much as they could be, everything seems centralized (and outside the metro area) these days. Of course, we moved 20 years ago as far back in the boonies as humans are allowed, and have been growing our own since. Have local markets, but none like that.

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