New senator Kirsten Gillibrand hasn’t been able to do much lately besides get in and out of trouble about her guns. Such is the lot of a senate noob even in the best of circumstances. But, perhaps aware that all politics is local, she’s going outside the U.S. senate, teaming with state senator Darrel Aubertine and taking a stand — for sliced fruits and vegetables and the New York farms that produce them.
The 2008 Farm Bill authorizes a program to bring these healthful foods to school kids to eat outside the cafeteria, but the way the USDA interprets the rules, says Aubertine and Gillibrand, schools can’t accept pre-sliced, pre-bagged apples and other such foods, which is apparently the way local farmers want to sell them. Aubertine and Gillibrand want a ruling from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that would allow these sales. (Gillibrand is on the senate agriculture committee.)
We thought New York schools were already serving sliced apples. But we’re not farmers — maybe some of our readers in the hinterlands can tell us what that’s about. Still, we can already guess that farmers will appreciate Gillibrand’s efforts on her behalf: she has already gotten a thumbs-up from upstate site Rural Intelligence is spreading the word to the glens, creeks, and hamlets that she’ll need to cultivate if she’s to keep her seat. She needs all the help she can get with that demographic.
We’ve seen Gillibrand so much as a Schumer creature that it’s actually encouraging to see her doing some politicking out of his shadow. At least it shows she knows the game.