The Candidates Cookbook: Jason Anderson
A special ES Local series, The Candidates Cookbook profiles each of the 2010 D.C. Mayoral candidates — from a foodie’s P.O.V.
Running as an independent, Jason Anderson refers to himself as an “enigma.” Reflecting this, the underdog candidate chose not to provide a photo or campaign logo for this story. He did, however, have plenty to say about food.
The D.C. Food Desert
“Food is a business, and the first priority for businesses and corporations is money,” laments Anderson. “Making money is more important [to corporations] than healthy living, which is a major contradiction, so it is more profitable to serve unhealthy foods and have people be unhealthy.”
This, explains Anderson, is why many D.C. neighborhoods are packed with fast food options but after 7pm have no healthy alternatives, “which plays a crucial part in obese Washingtonians.” As mayor, Anderson hopes to enact policies to diversify what he calls D.C.’s “food desert,” by making it financially viable for D.C. residents to open independent, healthy restaurants.
Back to the Farm
Anderson calls the “Healthy Schools” legislation a good start and says “a second step would be to teach students agriculture and introduce them to the farms. Youth only know the grocery store. Connect them with the food — not just the corporate connection.”
One organization Anderson points to as “important to the culture of learning,” is Heal Our Hood, a local initiative that provides nutritional and political education, including urban gardening, to the African community in DC. As mayor, he would work to expand similar programs throughout the school system.
Anderson grew up in a single parent household, with his Mom working full time for the government. “I grew up eating McDonald’s and Spaghetti-Os, which is typical for most D.C. children. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned to cook.”
Today, Anderson (who has removed beef and pork from his diet but does eat fish), cites Soul Vegetarian Exodus on Georgia Ave and Fireside Restaurant in Anascotia as two of his favorite local stops for vegetarian cuisine.
Previously on ES:
The Candidates Cookbook: Dennis Sobin