The Health of the City

Cover of book The Health of the City
Categories: Nonfiction

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Out of the gray dawn, from smoky stations where grimy engines pant and heave, by lighted subways in swift, silent trains, or through the barren shuttered streets in clanging car, pour the great hosts who do the city's work. That restless river springing from the morn bears in its flood the total of the city's wealth. From its requirements rise the varied activities of the city, whose total economic power is built by massing the single units of the moving throng. The energy of this human river gathers the resources of sea and earth, and turns the wealth it gains to the use and the service of man. On the preservation of that energy, therefore, depends the effective work of the city. Higher and better living for all would come from its general increase. To gain energy, the individual has but one means at his command, his food. Just as surely as the red flame of any coal-fed fire dies down, left unreplenished, so man dies, once his foodsupply is stopped. That is so evident, so personal, that it is remembered. It is equally true, but less commonly remembered, that as a furnace with dead ashes about the walls yields little heat despite the fire within, so insufficient or wrong foods, poisoning or dulling the worker, give him little energy for his tasks, little strength to bear his part in the world's struggle. Stated in its simplest form, the problem of the city's food-supply resolves itself to this: how can we provide the consumer with healthful food which shall be in a normal condition when it reaches the table? If we can solve that problem, we can furnish the army who are attacking the work of the world with a proper commissary, and so supply it with a requirement second to no other. If Napoleon's famous remark, that an army travels on its stomach, appli...

The Health of the City
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