Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker has been lauded as a hero by many for completing the week-long #SNAPChallenge, living for a week on a budget of $30, or the equivalent of New Jersey’s food stamp allocation. Booker chronicled his week through a series of videos and blog posts, concluding with a call for universal food justice and a recommitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Over the past week I have been sharing my personal experience of eating less than I am accustomed to, because I wanted to personally confront what I know millions of Americans deal with everyday — the lack of sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. I will end the SNAP Challenge today but my attention and commitment to addressing food access does not stop here. I ask you to join me and those in your community who are working towards a just and sustainable food system that nourishes everyone.
For all of the attention the SNAP Challenge has garnered, some of the conditions have left a bad taste with observers. For one, Booker restricted his food purchases to what food stamps would buy.
Booker’s concluding statement is short on specifics but expansive in its call for “fundamental rights and freedoms that are universally protected and guaranteed to all people around the globe without distinction,” including food, housing and medical care. In the meantime, a week of beans and yams has earned the mayor immense political capital.