by Marion Nestle
Nov 3 2014

Farewell to the “Mayor of Food,” Boston’s Thomas Menino

Corby Kummer’s moving tribute in the Atlantic to the former Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino explains that Minino deserved the title “Mayor of Food” because he

loved food almost as much as he loved Bostonians. He loved eating it, talking about it, and arguing about it…Menino cared about food for exactly the reasons today’s food-movement activists do, and long before it was fashionable to embrace what food can and should mean: access to fresh produce for everyone of every income level; gardens as ways to unite and repair communities; and, most importantly, fresh food as a route to better health. The mayor told everyone, including his biographer, longtimeAtlantic senior editor Jack Beatty, that he wanted to be remembered as “the public-health mayor.”

In November, 2013 I attended the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Boston, at which Mayor Menino gave a speech.

I was amazed to hear him say that the single biggest political battle of his five terms as mayor was getting sodas out of the public schools.

He was proud that Boston students are now drinking less soda.

Mayors willing to fight for public health are rare.  He was indeed the public health mayor and is badly missed.