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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Support A Fair Farm Bill!

Call to action!

Just take a moment (seriously, five minutes is all) and call your local senator to let them know how strongly you feel about the "Grassley-Dorgan" amendment to the Farm Bill.

From Environmental Working Group (one of my favorite groups of people...I use their Skin Deep database to research any beauty/personal care products I buy before purchasing):

"The "Grassley-Dorgan" payment limit amendment will: -Support local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture -Assist farmers converting to organic -Prevent mega-farms from getting millions of your tax dollars by capping payments at $250,000 per farm -Put more healthy, U.S.-grown organic food on your family's table"

The Farm Bill has been getting alot of attention this year partly because of increased interest and demand for organic products and a better understand of how harmful pesticides are. It's a good thing because I think we've all learned quite a bit about how screwed up agriculture subsidies have become (and are just one of the many reasons for obesity and poor nutrition in this country). From New Farm Legislation Is A Lesson in Power Politics by Daniel Weintraub (The Sacramento Bee): "The ill effects of farm subsidies are well documented. In Florida, subsidized sugar farming is blamed for the destruction of a wide swath of the Everglades, while sugar-price supports have prompted some candy companies to move their plants and jobs to other countries where they can buy sugar more cheaply. On the other side of the health ledger, nutritionists say that subsidized corn – converted to corn syrup and other sweeteners – is a major reason that packaged and fast foods are cheaper than fresh, promoting obesity."

We're all familiar with the high prices associated with organics and trying to work with the small, picked over fruit and vegetable sections at more affordable grocery stores like HEB, as opposed to Whole Foods and Central Market. If we can allow subsidies to go to farmers who are actually making food that is good for us as opposed to, say, SUGAR, everyone benefits.

(What I find really interesting/confusing about the amendment is that one of the sponsors Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has actually received a ton of farm subsidies himself. According the the USA Today story "Farm Payments Benefitted Legislators" - big surprise there - he received $878,854. "The payments went to Grassley and his son, who has a separate farming operation in addition to a partnership with his father.")

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