On March 23, Alexandria, VA became the second city in the nation— and the first in a major metropolitan area— to pass a Green Foods Resolution.
Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, today applauds the Alexandria City Council for unanimously approving a resolution on March 23 establishing Healthy Food Alexandria in support of the nutritional and environmental goals for the city. The landmark measure gives Alexandria, Virginia the bragging rights that go along with being the second city in the nation, and the first in a major metropolitan area, to pass a Green Foods Resolution (Signal Mountain, Tennessee was the first).
Farm Sanctuary has launched a groundbreaking national campaign to introduce Green Foods Resolutions in cities and towns throughout the country. A Green Foods Resolution is a city or town council resolution designed to counteract the health threats and massive environmental damage caused by animal agriculture by calling on citizens to eat lower on the food chain. Animal product consumption is a leading contributor to heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancer, and animal agriculture has been cited by the United Nations, World Watch Institute and a host of leading environmental experts — including Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, 2008 Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — as being among the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Healthy Food Alexandria supports the creation of a citywide, citizen-led initiative to increase residents’ access to locally grown, environmentally sustainable foods by increasing public awareness; encouraging the development of citizen-initiated community gardens and expanded access to farmers’ markets; and supporting healthy food choices, especially those involving locally produced food.
The initiative would also work to:
- increase public awareness through educational events and by providing special recognition to restaurants, businesses and organizations that use local food produced with sustainable methods;
- increase access to healthy, local foods for low-income communities by seeking opportunities to allow food stamps to be accepted at farmers’ markets;
- support community education efforts to help children learn more about healthy, local food by expanding locally sourced foods in their school-provided meals;
- facilitate partnerships between the city, community organizations, nonprofits, local businesses, faith-based organizations and local farmers to increase residents’ access to locally produced foods by offering classes and workshops in gardening, nutrition and cooking.
A group of Alexandria residents with a strong interest in promoting local, healthy food in the city and the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria’s ACHIEVE Planning Team — a community partnership that received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with policy and grassroots leaders to reduce childhood obesity — collaborated to bring the resolution to fruition. The resolution, which was endorsed by the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and the city’s Environmental Policy Commission, is also consistent with the goals of the city’s Environmental Action Plan 2030, which calls for educating residents about and increasing “equitable access to safe, healthy, and organic food, particularly for children and pregnant women, and to encourage local and regional food production.”
“We congratulate the Alexandria City Council for taking much needed steps to protect the health of their citizens and reduce the environmental devastation caused by industrial animal agriculture,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “With the evidence that has emerged in recent years on the link between our food choices and the degradation of the environment, people are finally waking up to the fact that green living isn’t just about what kind of car you drive or the type of light-bulbs you use, it’s also about what’s at the end of your fork. Our so-called cheap food comes at a steep cost to the environment and to our health.”