By Jan Poppendieck
Health advocates want bodegas and corner stores to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables, but the stores report that they lose money on these items because they go bad before they are purchased. What about a consignment approach in which some entity—the city or a major non-profit—delivers an array of vegetables for sale and picks up any that have not sold since the last delivery? Store owners would be charged only for those that sell.
The less-than-garden-fresh but still healthy vegetables collected could then be processed into foods like pasta sauces, soups and stews and packed for long shelf life. I picture a “Big Apple Tomato Sauce” loaded with vegetable purees and formulated to meet the city’s salt reduction targets. These could be used in turn for food preparation in schools, senior centers, jails, hospitals and other city agencies that serve meals. Is there a meal plan that does NOT use tomato sauce?
There may be many reasons why this could not work; send your obstacles, critiques and suggested improvements, as well as your own Pie-in-the-Sky ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post them!