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The Chicago Tribune reports that “in an effort to get New Yorkers to eat better, the city is preparing to issue licenses for 500 food carts that will be allowed to sell only fresh fruit and vegetables. The carts, which are expected to start appearing on the streets later this summer, are restricted to low-income areas that have the fewest sources of fresh produce in the city.”

This is yet another part of the city’s broad efforts to create a healthier population. As the Tribune notes, the move comes in the wake of an indoor smoking ban, restrictions on trans fats, and an ingredient labeling requirement imposed on the city’s fast food restaurants.

The story says that “of the estimated 4,100 street vendors in New York, city officials say that only about 10 percent currently sell fresh produce and most are limited to Midtown, where they cater to lunch-hour crowds, or relatively affluent neighborhoods.

“To boost demand for fruit and vegetables, the city is launching a public-education campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of eating more produce.

“Health officials hope that at least 75,000 New Yorkers will eat more apples, carrots and other produce as a result of the cart program. That could potentially reduce diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and other maladies associated with poor diets.

“ A 2004 survey found that 90 percent of New Yorkers said they had eaten fewer than the recommended minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables on the previous day, and 14 percent said they had eaten none at all. And the city was jolted this spring by a report that New Yorkers had packed on a combined total of 10 million pounds in just two years, with a 17 percent increase in the obesity rate. ”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, the Seattle Times reports that the home to Amazon, Boeing and Starbucks also increasingly is “a burgeoning paradise for those who steer clear of meat (vegetarians) and those who avoid meat, eggs, milk and other animal products (vegans) … There's a vegan doughnut shop (Mighty-O), vegan bakery (Flying Apron), vegan grocery (Sidecar for Pigs Peace), vegan-friendly bar and ice cream parlor (Georgetown Liquor, Molly Moon's), a vegan deli (Hillside Quickie) and nearly a dozen vegan restaurants. And that's just in Seattle proper.

“Restaurants that cater to vegetarians and vegans keep sprouting around Puget Sound, particularly in Seattle, the Eastside and Olympia. Many others offer vegetarian or vegan options. Most of those that don't are willing to omit or add a few ingredients, or at the very least, have a working knowledge of common no-nos. VegFest, an annual festival of vegetarian cuisine and lifestyle organized by the advocacy group Vegetarians of Washington, drew 15,000 this year.”

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