Even wealthy cities have people who can’t get healthy meals. George Reistad cooks up smart local food policy.

Even wealthy cities have people who can’t get healthy meals.

Grist 50

George Reistad cooks up smart local food policy.

It’s mind-bogglingly difficult to budge the ginormous, two-headed problem of hunger and obesity. That’s why George Reistad has unleashed dozens of different food-related projects as food czar for the city of Madison, Wisconsin.

Reistad issues both municipal and foundation grants to organizations with smart ideas, like the school that wanted to build a salad bar or the medical clinic that has started giving low-income patients vouchers for the food co-op across the street. He’s also working with the Latino Chamber of Commerce and a small grocery store to set up a delivery program for people paying for food with government benefits — residents who often have a hard time getting across town to go shopping.

Reistad has been on the job for less than a year, and he’s excited about what’s to come. “It’s just great to see the work taking root in the community around me,” he says. His efforts could provide a model for breaking down our giant food problems, piece by piece.

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Photo of George Reistad: Dean Mosiman

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