Well, the press loves a good story. But it turns out that things aren’t as insane as was initially reported when it comes to contracting with food vendors for the Denver convention. Here’s a press release sent out to dispel the erroneous notion that, among other wacky requirements, all food vendors were being required to provide food in “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.”
FICTION FUELS FRIVOLOUS FOOD FIGHT
Denver, CO – JULY 9, 2008 – Given that (1) Denver is one of the healthiest cities in the nation, (2) Colorado has a robust agricultural sector, and (3) we aim to host the greenest national political convention to date, local restaurants and caterers were invited to participate in a completely voluntary demonstration project in which they could provide a single “Lean ‘N Green” menu option for customers. This very small and voluntary component of a much larger program has generated erroneous media reports and fiction-based commentary that merit a strong public clarification.
“No food service establishment or business is being told what to serve. No convention guest is being told what to eat. No food item of any kind is being banned from being served at any event,” said Parry Burnap, Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee Greening Director. ”We are merely creating a voluntary option to demonstrate the connections between good nutrition and a healthy environment, to highlight the healthy and environmentally responsible character of our city, and provide voluntary choices that respond to consumer preferences for healthy, local or organic food while promoting Colorado growers.”
Please note the following corrections to misinformation that has circulated in recent media reports and public communications:
LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND CATERERS ARE NOT FORBIDDEN FROM SERVING FRIED FOODS.
· If a restaurant or caterer chooses to voluntarily serve a designated “Lean ‘N Green” meal option, that particular meal option would obviously not be fried. However, fried foods are in no way banned from local restaurants or caterers participating in Convention-related events.
LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND CATERERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO INCLUDE AT LEAST THREE DIFFERENT COLORS IN EVERY MEAL.
· If a restaurant or caterer chooses to voluntarily serve a designated “Lean ‘N Green” meal option, that particular option would include fruits and vegetables from different color groups – a key component of healthy eating. However, there are no “color requirements” for every meal served by local restaurants and caterers.
LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND CATERERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SERVE ORGANIC OR LOCALLY-GROWN FOOD FOR EVERY MEAL.
· If a restaurant or caterer chooses to voluntarily serve a designated “Lean ‘N Green” meal option, that particular option would include organic or locally-grown ingredients. However, these goals do not extend to every meal served by local restaurants and caterers.
THE HOST COMMITTEE CATERING VENDOR REQUESTS FOR PROPOSAL DOES NOT INCLUDE 28 PAGES OF GREEN REQUIREMENTS.
· While the RFP itself was 28 pages long, less than a paragraph describes the components of a voluntarily-designated “Lean ‘N Green” meal.
The key point here seems to be that participation in the “Lean ‘n’ Green” program is voluntary — vendors remain free to supply chicken wings, fried dough, and other American classics, if they want to.