Fruits and Veggies Prepare for Meat Battle

Fruits and Veggies Prepare for Meat Battle

The fruits and vegetables in this country are organizing, and it doesn't look good for meat.

I recently received a press release from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (official motto: "Soy burgers are just as good as real burgers. Almost. Sort of. Okay, not really."), telling me that cantaloupe and garlic have been featured as the Fruit and Vegetable of the Month for July.

Fruit and Vegetable of the Month? Who got to make that decision? Why wasn't the public asked for input? Were strawberries and green beans given a fair shake? And which category will tomatoes be in?

I'm rather worried, because this Produce for Better Health Foundation just sort of sprang up out of nowhere and started sending me press releases about random fruit and veggie celebrations. Yet there are no parades, and apparently the issue is not important enough to have national holidays where I can take a three day weekend, so I don't think these are real celebrations.

According to the release, the PBH is a "non-profit fruit and education foundation." In other words, they want to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve our overall public health. They are also the "nation's largest public-private fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative."

There are so many questions and ideas floating through my head right now:

1) As a non-profit, are there fund raising events with little veggie hors d'oeuvres? Do private citizens donate money to help teach people to eat more fruits and vegetables? Why shouldn't I just give the money to an organization that will actually feed people?

2) Saying you're the "largest public-private fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative" implies there is more than one. Is there really? Why do we even have the first one? Who decided that one wasn't enough, and that we needed a second one?

3) In the spirit of fairness and equal time, does the American Beef Council also get to declare that the ribeye is the Awesome Steak of the Month for July? If they haven't, they should. I would give it a nice garlic rub, with a couple pieces of cantaloupe for dessert. Topped with butter pecan ice cream, because the National Ice Cream Foundation should declare Butter Pecan the Ice Cream of the Month for July. (June is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.)

But here's what really worries me. The PBH is also "a member and co-chair with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance."

The National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance?!

The fruits and vegetables are organizing. They have a little cabal, and I'm afraid they're going to take over. I mean, it was one thing when the corn growers would get a little in their cups and start arguing with the potato farmers. Or when the apple growers got a little out of hand in a Florida citrus grove back in 1978.

But now they've put aside their differences and organized into an entire alliance! This may spell disaster for the Beef, Bacon, and BBQ Ribs associations, all of whom are loosely organized, and rather flabby. They don't pose much of a threat to the NFVA, who may be able to crush the junk food rebel alliance with a single blow.

It'll be like the Empire driving the Death Star to a local burger joint and blowing it up in a hailstorm of zucchinis.

I don't expect the chicken people to support the meaties, since the NFVA tolerates their presence, as long as they limit their incursions to 3 -4 ounces per meal, skinless and baked. And the fish people are about as supportive and immovable as, well, a dead fish.

The only thing that gives me hope, is that the American Grain Association hasn't thrown their lot in with the NFVA. You might expect that they would, given the whole "brothers and sisters of the soil" thing, but grains have gotten a bad rap ever since the South Beach diet taught us about the evils of bread and doughnuts.

If I've learned nothing else over the last several years, it's that there needs to be a balanced diet of foods of all kinds. There's room at the table for everyone: hamburgers with big slices of tomatoes. Hot dogs and cole slaw. Turkey and green beans, with corn mixed in the mashed potatoes. I think we can all learn something from each other in this fight, and finally get along.

But the most important lesson of all? Never send a press release to a humor writer without first knowing what he's likely to do with it.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.