Extreme Exception

By Corby Kummer

This month's issue of the print edition of the The Atlantic has an article on the Edible Schoolyard movement, and the idea of gardens in public schools generally and especially as part of a curriculum, with which I took and take great exception. But hey, we're The Atlantic! We welcome diversity of opinion, and don't spike our valued colleagues' articles (though we do make our feelings known in frank and useful exchanges).

I fired my opening salvo in my most recent post on calorie labeling, below, and have talked at length with Alice Waters about it. But I'm waiting to get in touch with people on the ground, and in the garden, before writing further. Watch this space! And in the meantime, look at this impassioned reaction by my friends Ed Levine and Vicky Bijur on Ed's terrific Serious Eats, this strong and sensible reaction from Mother Jones, and this thoughtful and trenchant piece from the always-thoughtful Tom Philpott on Grist. From my most recent post:

The most literary, and probably for that reason annoying, form of this argument I've seen appears in our very own new issue, I'm sorry to say--one of several egregious points in an attack on school gardens I'll have more to say about shortly. In it Caitlin Flanagan quotes the famous passage in Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier saying that "when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food"--you want the solid sugar that the Industrial Revolution made affordable for every English factory worker, or the solid fat that U.S. corn and other subsidies make affordable for every low-paid or unemployed American worker. This reductio ad absurdum simply consigns the poor to eternal obesity and malnutrition, and short-circuits any government initiatives to improve health and make better food available to everyone. It's let-'em-eat-cake under the guise of libertarian realism.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/01/extreme-exception/33450/