Last week, in a speech before the Conference of Mayors, first lady
Michelle Obama cited Minneapolis' mini farmers markets as a leading
example of communities combating obesity and promoting healthier,
sustainable food initiatives.
According to a press release from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a locally based non-profit organization focused on healthy foods and sustainable farming:
The Minneapolis mini farmers market project was launched by the Institute for Agri- culture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the city of Minneapolis in 2007. The city passed an ordinance that simplified the process of launching small-scale farmers markets. This has enabled organizations ranging from community centers to public housing facilities to start new markets. The project brings together local farmers and community residents in Minneapolis neighborhoods that lack easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year, there were 12 mini farmers markets operating around the city.
Under the leadership of Mayor R. T. Rybak, the city of Minneapolis has also launched the new Homegrown Minneapolis initiative, aimed at increasing the production and consumption of healthy local foods in Minneapolis. The initiative is a unique partner- ship between city government and community stakeholders.
One of Obama's many initiatives is sustainable agriculture and local foods. Last spring, Obama and group of Washington, D.C. school children planted the White House's first Victory Garden since Eleanor Roosevelt grew a Victory Garden there during WWII. Many of the seeds, which were actually passed down from Thomas Jefferson, were planted by kids from the nearby Bancroft school. Through their care and work, the students are
learning about the benefits of eating healthy and local foods, and passing
on the info to their parents and peers. According to Michelle Obama, from a press release last spring:
We were a busy working family, and I
would find it difficult to feed my family in a healthy way - quickly.
So I decided to change our diet, and this happened throughout the
course of the campaign, with simple things. I started adding more
fruits and vegetables, trying to sit down and prepare a meal as a
family a couple times a week, and eating out a little bit less. Trying
to eliminate processed and sugary foods as much as possible. And I saw
some really immediate results with just those minor changes. I thought
well, if I could help other families learn these small changes in my
role as first lady, that would be a good thing.