Here at the Mecklenburg County commissioners' retreat – at the Lodge at the Ballantyne resort – the commissioners are spending most of the afternoon giving 10-minute talks on issues they'd like the board to take up later. Meaty, but not exactly earth-shaking news.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
For instance, they discussed homelessness and concluded, in effect, that it's definitely a problem, and they will look at what they might want to do about it in addition to what they're already doing.
But here's an interesting one: Dan Murrey made a pitch for the county to do more about helping people have access to locally grown, healthful foods. "Our diet is based on foods being shipped from around the world," he noted, and he also pointed to the growing problem of childhood obesity. "There are some neighborhoods where there are no grocery stores," he said, or where the stores don't have good (or any) produce.
He suggested getting the Park and Recreation department to offer community gardens. (In fact, P&R already does that, but could do a lot more, as their program now is quite low-profile.)
Long-term, he said, the county should look at the feasibility of a permanent farmer's market that's accessible by transit. He didn't say this, but much as I love the state-run Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Yorkmont Road, whoever decided to locate it there was nuts. It isn't centrally located, isn't in any densely developed area, and isn't accessible by transit.
Some other, seasonal markets have sprung up but they aren't in permanent sites or open year round, or well-distributed around the county.