Grist waded into the waters of #kalegate today, digging up the bones of last month’s hotly contested New York Times piece and reframing the issue with an eye towards a larger problem in the city: access to fresh, affordable produce for everyone.
After giving a largely objective blow-by-blow of #kalegate’s online evolution, writer Heather Hansman touches on the deeper issues that may be at the heart of March’s biggest kerfuffle:
Saying that you can’t find kale in New Orleans hit on the sensitive idea that the city is an unsophisticated place — that you can’t find real food there. The comment also inadvertently touched on the lack of access to fresh, healthy food in a city where social and racial inequality has stark dividing lines.
In other words, it’s not that kale isn’t available, it’s a matter of who it’s available to.
Hansman also talks with Grow Dat Youth Farm’s executive director Johanna Gilligan, who echoes these sentiments:
“Yes, at the market people were buying kale with a new sense of pride,” Gilligan says. “But how do we take this opportunity to talk about the real issues? How do we work together to build a better system across our diverse community to address the really large problems in our food system?”
While kale may be popping up on menus across the city and selling out at the neighborhood Whole Foods, the article indicates that conversations need to be more widespread about how to bring affordable produce — from kale to mustard greens — to all corners of the city.
(Note: the article also calls recent transplant Solange a “minor" celebrity, which is obviously incorrect.)