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California Medical Association 'walks the walk' on healthy eating

by Chris Hinyub, published

What started as a personal aspiration of California Medical Association (CMA) CEO Dustin Corcoran, has ended up transforming the food policy of his 35,000-member organization. According to a recent Capitol Weekly article, the CMA headquarters in Sacramento has replaced all snack-food vending machines with fresh fruit and vegetable options directly from local farms.

The association hopes to inspire public institutions to make similar changes so that healthy eating becomes the rule instead of the exception in California schools and work places.

“We’re always advocating for public health,” CMA spokeswoman Molly Weedn said to Capitol Weekly. “This is a new year and with the introduction of new legislation and new laws, this is a good place to start.”

The article continues:

"Once a week, the locally-based company Farm Fresh To You will be delivering fruit and vegetable baskets that are meant to encourage 'free-range snacking' for CMA employees. The delivery service is widely available to many northern California home and business sites, offering a variety of options in quantity and frequency of delivery. Particular requests for certain kinds of shipments are possible, but are greatly based on seasonal availability, which has forced some culinary creativity."

According to Corcoran, the Capitol community is “rallying around” the farm-to-office program.  But not everyone is thrilled by its prospects. The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has lobbied to keep policy discussions food-centered and away from targeting a resurging vending machine industry.

To be sure, it's reassuring to see medical policy makers get serious about practicing what they preach when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices. Its even more encouraging to see large, influential organizations support local agricultural and distribution jobs.  Perhaps this model can be adopted nationwide, leading to better health, more robust local economies, and tighter-knit communities.

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