It must be one of the more bizarre attacks ever levelled by one North Country congressional candidate against another. “Why does Aaron Woolf believe overburdened North Country families should follow Europe’s lead and pay more for food?” Republican Elise Stefanik asks in a radio advertisement that was released on September 8. Democrat Aaron Woolf believes North Country families should follow Europe’s lead and pay more for food? We asked Stefanik’s campaign what, precisely, she was referring to, and we received a link to a 2008 National Public Radio story about Woolf and his Brooklyn grocery store, Urban Rustic. The reporter, Marianne McCune, said, “Woolf says Americans should pay more for their food, the rest of the world does. And he wants shoppers who are willing to pay 12 dollars for a large jar of Brooklyn pickles or seven for a chocolate bar, but he doesn’t want to become a boutique. Urban Rustic’s challenge is to offer a competitively priced egg and cheese sandwich and still use cage-free organic eggs.” As Woolf’s campaign pointed out, it was the reporter, not Woolf himself, who characterized his position as a belief that Americans should pay more for food. We asked the candidate what he himself did believe, and we received this response: “The fact is that I want to make our food more affordable. But when the government overly subsidizes certain sectors, it artificially lowers the price for foods that make our society—and especially children—less heathy when overly consumed. What this does is put North Country farmers at a competitive disadvantage. It also forces Americans to eventually pay more in medical expenses to treat conditions like diabetes. Woolf, of course, is right, as Stefanik herself would no doubt admit were she not attempting to insinuate that Woolf is an elitist and she a spokesman for those who prefer good, old-fashioned American food from McDonald’s. But it’s because of the food that’s most readily available in grocery stores, convenience stores and fast food outlets that more than a quarter of all New Yorkers are obese. That’s why the federal and state governments are encouraging those entitled to food stamps to shop at farmers’ markets and primary care physicians are encouraging their patients to eat healthier foods. That’s good for all us, since ultimately health care costs will be contained through preventive measures. It’s also good for our local economy, as more and more small farms are reclaimed and our small towns regain some of their lost vibrancy. In fact, as Woolf points out, helping families in need to buy cheaper and healthier food from the North Country’s farmer’s markets, co-ops, and food entrepreneurs was part of the new farm bill passed earlier this year. Woolf said he would have supported the Farm bill. And believe it or not, Stefanik says she would have, too. Woolf may not have lived in the Adirondacks long enough to know as much as about local issues as would like. But he certainly understands food and its relationship to public health and the local economy better than Stefanik does. In this food fight, we side with Woolf.