Saturday, January 07, 2006

So, Martha …A Modest Proposal for Your Daytime Show

Say what you want about Martha Stewart, one fact is undeniable: she done her time. She spent her sentence at Camp Cupcake rubbing elbows with women from all walks of life, and seems to have come away with a modicum of understanding and empathy for those with few resources and little opportunity in life. I have come up with a couple ideas on how she, as a woman with power and influence, can build on that understanding for the good of humanity.

So Martha, here goes:

How about creating a makeover segment on your show? A – ta-da – Shopping Cart Makeover! Find women of limited means from various ethnic and social groups, accost them in the supermarket, and offer them a makeover.

First, inventory the foods and other goods they’ve bought, and note the amount of money they spend. Look at their family structure to analyze their needs, and then do a makeover, substituting healthy foods for unhealthy, finding inexpensive cleaning products which work as well as more expensive ones, and adapting favorite family recipes to more healthy versions. Perhaps you could even introduce the idea of organic foods.

The objective? To teach a family how to eat and spend in a healthier fashion, using the same amount of money they now pay for overpriced processed foods. A constraint would be to make it easy and fast; a lot of poor women and men have to work multiple jobs to care for their families, and don’t have a heck of a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Another idea, suggested from your own comments about your stay in prison: Tackle, loudly and with great fervor, the issue of the health and well-being of inmates incarcerated in the United States, beginning with their food. Promote organic gardening at the prisons so the inmates can grow their own produce; introduce healthy proteins and whole grains into their diet; and offer education so that prisoners can learn to take charge of their own health, in and out of prison. Expand into exercise programs and mental health support; and seriously look at the conditions under which prisoners live, and push to improve them. And really bring it to the attention of the U.S. public just how unhealthy some of these prisons are for the inmates who have to reside there.

Martha, I think you got sandbagged, clobbered for a relatively minor offense as a very public lesson to other CEOs; but maybe you went through this experience for a reason. Maybe you’re supposed to use your considerable talents and organizational ability to make a real difference in the world, including for the less fortunate members of society – starting in the kitchen.

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