Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fixing the Farm Bill

Ali at Cleaner Plate has been an amazing crusader for this issue. You can find a ton of information and her thoughts on the subject over at her site. Ali seems like one of the nicest people you could meet. A genuine altruist.

Me, I am an altruist, mostly, but I've been beaten up by my professional life in research and am becoming a bit of a realist. Human nature is that we will not take direct action on an issue unless we first, see a real benefit for ourselves (not being farmers, most of us). Second, we won't take action unless it is easy to do and quick.

No, I'm not cynical! I am a realist. And, as much as I know so many of you care about our planet and one another, let's just go down the realist path for a moment.

So, here are some good reasons why you, as a consumer, would want to send a QUICK, EASY email to support change. Hey, you don't even have to know your representative's name! And, realistically, most of us don't. It takes less than a minute!

Here are the two ammendments that would help the situation and the basics of what they would do for YOU.

The Healthy Farms, Food and Fuels Act will do the following for YOU the consumer:
  1. Promote renewable energy development on farms, ranches and forest lands (cheaper, clean energy FOR YOU!).

  2. Link producers with consumers through farmers markets and farm-to-cafeteria (as in your school's cafeteria) initiatives, and provide new assistance to low-income and elderly consumers (wait the last one goes under altruism, unless YOU are low income or elderly).

  3. Help create more organic farms, thus better and more sources of quality produce for YOU.
The EAT Healthy America Act will do the following for YOUR CHILDREN:
  1. Require federal feeding programs, including the YOUR CHILDREN'S school lunch and school breakfast programs, to adhere to the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

  2. Expand the fruit and vegetable snack program in YOUR CHILDRENS' schools across the nation and develop new nutrition promotion programs to assist producers in enhancing their markets.
Fellow altruists, keep reading ...


Both bills would also have the following benefits for us all (Kum-bay-ya! Kum-bay-ya! All together now):

  • Increase access to valuable export markets (go economy!).
  • Expand programs to assist local growers with the specific investments they need to increase competitiveness (go local!)
  • Increase opportunities for specialty crop producers to access conservation programs, which will improve air quality and water quality and supply as well as protection of working agricultural lands and of sensitive environmental resources (go environment!)
  • Invest in research priorities for specialty crops to improve prevention of invasive plant pests and diseases (go organic!)
  • Double funding for farmers to promote conservation (environment again!).
  • Fund the restoration of wildlife habitat, including wetlands and grasslands (again!).
  • Protect more than 6 million acres of farm, ranch and forest land (and again!)
Did I mention the QUICK, EASY, EASY LINK to tell your rep (whoever it is) to quit chasing pages (okay, that was cynical) and do something meaningful for all of us?

Thanks, Ali, keep us all on track, would you? I know our world is a better place with people like you in it. And that's real.


tut-tut said...

I really appreciate all of the details you and Cleaner Plate blog condense for us readers. I'm much better informed, instead of merely ranting and raving since I've been reading your thought-provoking and well-researched posts.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Thank you. I am happy that my ramblings are helpful! If you want the in depth on the farm bill, I found great stuff at the Environmental Defense Fund site:

Thank you again.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Ah, and I love your turtle!

FFF said...

But doesn't it appear that not many 'You's' exist? After all, if people truly cared for these issues the market would support them and we wouldn't need a multi billion dollar subsidy going to Tyson, Perdue, et al. There are some good things in the bill, but good will support itself in an open market, I don't need to subsidize it.

The Expatriate Chef said...

Actually, Tyson doesn't NEED a subsidy, and we don't NEED a subsidy going to them either. These decisions aren't based on what's good for us, it's based on what is good for a select few at the tops of the companies like Tyson and ConAgra. Good has not supported itself, and the market is not that open. But, I respect your thoughts, as consumers should be able to control these things by our choices. Should. Give a read to Omnivore's Dilemma or Fast Food Nation. It can help explain a lot of these political issues. Thanks for the comment!