I just read an article on MSNBC that indicates WIC (Women, Infants, and Children program that provides a small stipend for food) will expand the list of foods it covers to include... fruits and vegetables.
Are you kidding me? This program -- which has existed since the 70s and now serves more than 8 million people -- has never allowed the recipients to purchase fruits and vegetables? Does it strike anyone else as INSANE that a program geared to improving the health of poor women and children doesn't provide for some of the most critical foods that would help to that end?
Since 1980, foods that were allowed included milk, eggs, and cheese. OK, I get the protein angle. It also allowed for juice, a natural for many kids. And carrots (hey, one vegetable!) and canned tuna for women (but not for kids?!?).
But heck, even I as a young lass in the 70s knew that vegetables and fruits are the most healthy foods to eat. I knew this because every year, my mother planted, tended, and harvested a vegetable garden nearly half the size of our considerable side yard. We lived on fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, corn, lettuce, zucchini, cauliflower, bok choi, chives, pumpkins, etc., etc., etc. We didn't grow fruit, but we were regular customers at the local farms and farm stands, where we could pick our own strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and buy other fruit like melons and peaches and such.
OK, that was fun remembering all that fresh produce. I remember Dad renting the Roto-tiller to plow the garden in preparation for planting. I remember helping Mom weeding and picking (although she did the vast majority of the work). I remember picking tomatoes and eating them fresh off the vine like apples. Mmmmm. Thanks, Mom.
I'm just agape that WIC is just now getting around to adding these necessary ingredients to their program. At least they're doing it now. Wow.