Recommended Reading on the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill has a huge impact on our food system here in the U.S., and in this age of globalization its repercussions are felt worldwide. Everything from the survival of small organic farms to the availability of fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods to what kind of food and agriculture our tax dollars subsidize (or don’t) is determined by this piece of legislation, which is currently being debated in Congress. The results will set policy for the next five years.

Food Justice activist Anna Lappé has written a piece for the Huffington Post called “The Two Americas of Food” (a play on John Edwards’ statements about our health care system) which articulates the importance of the 2007 Farm Bill. I highly recommend this article to anyone who eats food… that is, to everyone!

Like hundreds of others across the country, my neighborhood in Brooklyn got a farmers market a few years ago. Now, with summer in full swing, I can spend any Saturday morning wandering in fresh-food bliss. But I am certainly not taking a single Bing cherry for granted. I know that for most of us, including many millions here in New York City, it’s a lot easier to find a Colt 45 than a farmers market.

(continue reading…)

Cortelyou Road Farmers Market – photo by keka

3 Responses to “ Recommended Reading on the Farm Bill ”

  1. Ms. Lappe has some interesting ideas. I really wish I know more about the structure and distribution of farm subsidies. It seems like a really important issue, not to our own country but the world as well. I’ve repeatedly heard that farm subsidies cause (or perhaps allow) American farmers to dump crops onto third world economies where they are undercutting local producers and making it hard for them to advance.

    I hadn’t realized that food stamps, etc. were in the farm bill either. So much to learn… Thanks for teaching me something. 🙂

  2. Not being able to find fresh produce in my neighborhood is a big problem for me. I wish the bodegas sold fresh veggies. Even bag spinach or lettuce and some tomatoes would be a big improvement. I often have to pick something up in the city if I need fresh veggies for dinner. It’s pathetic that I can get crappy food so easily and nice, fresh, healthy food is hard to come by. There should be a law against this.

    I will read this article on the Farmer’s bill. Thanks for covering it, Anne.

  3. i can’t help thinking that if more people knew how heavily subsidized the crappy food is that there would be a public outcry to subsidize healthy food instead. the economic consequences alone are staggering, considering the public health burden of obesity and diabetes. but it is also such a waste of human potential…

    there is so much to learn on this topic and it is so important! here are a couple of other really good articles:

    “The farm bill sets the rules for the American food system and helps to subsidize obesity. It rewards growers of big commodity crops like corn, soybeans and wheat — the foundation of our junk food nation. So, a bag of highly processed orange puff balls with no nutritional value is cheaper than a tomato or a peach. Wonder why.”

    “Children who are hungry are less healthy and perform poorly in school. Hardworking families struggling to put food on the table aren’t able to enjoy the stability and security they deserve. In short, it’s hard to think of a policy moving its way through Congress that cries out for reform that will have more effect on the political process and on the lives of individual Americans than the Farm Bill.”

    “Between 1985 and 2000, the real price of fruits and vegetables increased by 40 percent, while the price of soft drinks and other sugary and high-fat foods declined by as much as 20 percent. If our farm bills had been healthy-food bills, we could have distributed government support more equitably to make nutritious food more affordable. In part because of this imbalance, we are paying more than $100 billion a year in obesity-related medical costs.”

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