Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tackles Cauliflower in Green New Deal

May 22, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has accused the humble cauliflower of representing “colonial” views and said she believes it should stop being planted in community gardens as part of her Green New Deal proposal to prevent what she calls “environmental catastrophe and [to] heal systemic inequality.”

“When someone says it is ‘too hard’ to do a green space that grows yucca instead of, I don’t know, maybe cauliflower or something, what you are doing is taking a colonial approach to environmentalism,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram video that has since been removed.

While walking through her home state she suggested the vegetable was responsible for fueling racial tensions that date back to the United Kingdom’s rule over America from the years 1607 to 1783.

“That is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements because they come with a colonial lens on them,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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.”

She suggested there should be more plants that have a cultural connection with the different ethnicities of the community.

“What I love too is growing plants that are culturally familiar to the community. It’s so important,” she said while showing images of a community garden in the Bronx. “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 we get the most push back on because people say, ‘Why do you need to do that? That’s too hard.’”

Ocasio-Cortez was pleased to see a composting area in the garden because it is not very easy to do in that kind of neighborhood.

“It looks like they have got composting going on, which is so awesome too because composting is really hard to do in a neighborhood like this,” she said. “We just don’t have the pick ups and the ease of it that a lot of other communities have.”

Back on April 7 she asked her followers on Twitter for suggestions on what to plant in a community garden plot measuring 4 feet by 4 feet.

“Any green-thumbs out with sage words of advice? What should I plant? (ideally at least one edible thing but we can do flowers too),” she wrote. “Only things we can’t plant are sunflowers, corn , mint, and strawberries. Aside from that the world is our community garden.”

This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has linked climate change with the so-called oppression of ethnic minorities. On Feb. 8 her chief of staff claimed there cannot be justice without addressing what happened to native Americans.

“There is no justice and there is no combating climate change without addressing what has happened to indigenous communities,” Saikat Chakrabarti wrote on Twitter. “That means there is no fixing our economy without addressing the racial wealth gap.”

Chakrabarti went further to say there would be no transition to renewable energy sources without moving coal communities to new opportunities.

“That means we are not going to transition to renewable energies without also transitioning front-line communities and coal communities into economic opportunity as well. That is what this is about,” he said.

He revealed much of Ocasio-Cortez’s statements are made spontaneously without preparation.

“The most incredible bit—she believes this so deeply at her core that @AOC doesn’t even have to write speeches. She literally came up with this on the spot,” he said.

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