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This just in: tomato paste is a vegetable


At least, it enjoys legal vegetable status according to the United States federal government which essentially means that I can eat pizza and get my daily serving of vegetables. Never mind that (1) a tomato is a fruit and (2) seriously? do I have to say why this is ridiculous?

That's just one of many outrageous bits of news to be found in this story about Congress pushing back against the Obama administration's attempts to promote healthier school lunches.

I posted this story on our Facebook page and asked the question of why government attempts to promote healthier eating are considered by conservatives to be "overreaching" while changes made to a spending bill at the behest of "food companies that produce frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potato growers" are perfectly fine. It would seem to depend on whose behalf they're doing the reaching.

I rarely get so political on this blog. And I write all of this as someone who believes in government and its capacity to effect positive change. That's what makes this all so darn frustrating. I prefer to keep my writings on this blog about why it would be so good for there to be a food co-op in South Philly.

So I'll end with this point. Our elected government failing to act on behalf of public health by making it easier for children in the low-income, federally funded school lunch program to have access to more than just pizza and french fries is a prime example of why we need to take matters into our own hands. There are numerous examples of how government policy that was written to please large corporate food manufacturers has resulted in a system that is unsustainable, unhealthy, profit-driven, unaccountable and unsafe. There are plenty of good reasons to become one of the South Philly Food Co-op's 250 Founding Members. One of them is that it is our chance, at least in this little corner of the world made up of four zip codes, to take control, establish a place that we own and where we get to decide that pizza, however awesome it is, is not a vegetable.

And here is the usual disclaimer about how the opinions expressed in this piece are mine and mine alone and do not reflect any policies or opinions of the South Philly Food Co-op, its members or its board. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments section of this post or via email at dan.pohlig (at)