The Corner

Economy & Business

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins the War on Cauliflower

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill, February 27, 2019 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

A few weeks ago, I noted that Louisiana’s state legislature is contemplating legislation that would bar makers of cauliflower rice from labeling their product “rice,” contending that consumers will get confused. Instead, the rice growers want the product to be labeled . . . “riced cauliflower.”

But Louisiana isn’t the only spot where cauliflower is under fire. In a stream-of-consciousness discussion of composting, the Green New Deal, and community gardens, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lamented cauliflower as symbol of colonialism.

“Looks like they’ve got composting going on, which is so awesome, too, because composting is really hard to do in a neighborhood like this. We just don’t have the pick ups and the ease of it that a lot of other communities have. So that’s really how you do it, right, that is such a core component of the Green New Deal, is having all of these projects make sense in a cultural context. And it’s an area that I — we get the most pushback on, because people say, like, why do you need to do that? That’s too hard. But when you really think about it, when someone says that it’s too hard to do a green space that grows yucca instead of, I don’t know, cauliflower or something, what you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism, and that is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements, because they come with the colonial lens on them. And it should be no surprise that sometimes a lot of these projects don’t work out occasionally because our communities are naturally attuned to live in an environmentally conscious way.”

Or, you know, the decision to grow cauliflower might be a reflection of what plants will grow best in a garden with that temperature range, soil types, and rainfall level. Some yucca varieties can handle a range of temperature and rainfall, some can’t. All of this information is a Google search away, and one can fairly wonder why a U.S. congresswoman is weighing in on what vegetables should be grown in citizens’ gardens.

Then again, perhaps it is fitting. Ocasio-Cortez has a lot of opinions on the right way to do things, and she’s eager to share them with everyone, including a signature proposal that calls for requiring the upgrade or replacement of every building in the country in a ten-year period. In her worldview, there is no detail of life that is beyond the scope of the government’s authority, including what vegetable you plant in your garden.

It’s odd. Some would argue that as a freshman House member, Ocasio-Cortz is covered excessively, even obsessively. But when she says something asinine, her comments only interest the right-of-center media.

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