Perhaps no other city in the United States provides the platform to address food issues better than Washington, D.C., a culinary hot-spot that also provides a public policy forum in the seat of government.
It's a good time to eat out in the District. Just check out Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema's fall dining guide , released over the weekend, for proof. As if to demonstrate how food in the District is both a sensual and political experience, one of Washington's pre-emininet food activists is also among its most celebrated for his kitchens. Among Sietsema's 37 selections, four are from José Andrés, whose ThinkFoodGroup has a growing policy footprint in advocating for the elimination of hunger and addressing its root causes.
On Thursday, noshing meets education with World Food Day, the anniversary of the Oct. 16, 1945, creation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Food Policy Action is using the day to release its National Food Policy Scorecard for the 113th Congress at one of D.C.'s foodie havens, Graffiato, Mike Isabella's downtown Italian-American lair.
Food Policy Action, an offshoot of the Environmental Working Group, released its first scorecard two years ago for the 112th Congress, grading members on 32 legislative actions ranging from nutrition assistance to food safety. Fifty members got perfect scores; three came away empty-plated. The group has a charismatic representative in co-founder Tom Colicchio, the restrauteur who mans the head of the table on Bravo's "Top Chef," and is a forceful advocate for hunger issues on Capitol Hill and even in movie theaters with "A Place at the Table," a documentary he produced about hunger in America. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 14.3 percent of American households were "food insecure" for some part of 2013. The department defines food insecurity as "meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members." It's a somber, but important reminder during a night out on the town.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the Wagyu brisket sandwich at Del Campo or the blue crab fried rice at Doi Moi. Just keep in mind there are bigger hardships than waiting in line at Rose's Luxury.
Colicchio will be joined by Ken Cook, another FPA co-founder and chairman of its board, and Claire Benjamin, the group's managing director. The FPA's event takes place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 at Graffiato Restaurant, 707 Sixth Street NW.
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