Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rep. Jared Polis rewards veg school lunches

Usually when my local paper mentions the v-word, it's either talking about someone I know or something that's been done in KC's small-but-fervent activist population or meaning to poke fun at liberals, picky eaters, etc. But the other day it cropped up in the news section! What? There was a news brief similar to this article and I am so excited about it. Colorado rep Jared Polis introduced a bill back in March that increases vegetarian and vegan options in school lunches and rewards schools that offer such meals to at least 2/3 of its students. Polis isn't a vegan, but he's doing this for the obvious reasons - childhood obesity and its accompanying health problems are skyrocketing. I'm not optimistic about its passage, but the fact that it's even been introduced is telling. It's interesting how much of an impact the fact that Polis isn't vegan is having on the way the media is talking about this. Every article I've read on this is generally positive and coming at it from an entirely reasonable, health-based angle. I feel like that wouldn't be the case if Dennis Kucinich (who is vegan) were this bill's creator. Being vegan in itself makes (some) non-vegans skeptical of you, your motives, your legitimacy. You're "one of those." You're not an individual who happens to be vegan, just a vegan. A friend of mine, if he ever has to call a restaurant or company to ask about vegan options/products or lack thereof, pretends he's someone considering going vegan, just asking for future reference. He does this to show that there are people in the world who are considering going vegan, that vegans aren't a special breed of people destined from birth to be wackos. This is why all the articles about Polis' bill are so positive and focused on health: Polis sees that plant foods are healthy, which is all well and good, but isn't one of those crazies who only eats those things. I think I'm going to write more about this later, it just says so much about so many things. But regardless of all that other stuff, this is exciting! If nothing else, even if it doesn't get passed, I think it could pave the way for better regulations about what's in school meals. We shall see!

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