Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You Better Watch Out

When I started eating local and preaching that gospel, I realize, I stepped into a movement. I took up the banner and joined wholeheartedly. So, it's not a big shock that my heart is a bit heavy in the wake of the farm bill, and the bipartisan resistance to reform. If I force myself to see the bright side, there were a few token wins for small farms, consumers and the environment. The fact that reform was even brought up and made it this far, that's a sure sign that change is coming.

Yet, in what has to be the ultimate irony (and hypocrisy) for the issue, Speaker of the House Pelosi, who pushed new democratic reps to not rock the subsidy boat, led the charge to get all organic food in the House cafeteria.

I suppose I can hope that they source all that lovely food from primarily Big Organic producers since the USDA is now allowing foods sold under the organic label to include 38 non-organic agricultural products as part of the ingredients. Additionally, "organic" meats can still be labeled as such even if the livestock were given such inorganic substances as Atropine, Butorphanol, Tolazine, and Xylazine.

If Big Ag keeps up the pressure to lower organic standards and profit from the consumers' trust in the organic label, and well, the USDA allows it, then we can all be happy that Congress is being lied to at the table along with the rest of us. We're paying for their food, too. Why should they be excused from the same uncertainty we face? Thanks, USDA!

Additionally, Monsanto gets to keep contaminating the neighboring organic crops with GM pollen. Monsanto sells 90 percent of the genetically modified seeds in the world, accounting for nearly all the US soybean crop and over 70 percent of the corn grown here. Monsanto execs should have a good holiday, their stock is up nearly 1000 percent and expected to continue to rise.

I know, the holidays are here. I should drop the warrior mode (more of Don Quixote futility at the moment) and just post some cookie recipes, or perhaps some of Paula Deen's holiday ham recipes for Smithfield Farms. I'll find some good cheer, I will.

Deep down in my crushed heart, I hope that Santa, or some force of supreme justice, really is watching. But, frankly, we can't count on it. All we can count on is us. And what each of us can do about this.

Vote the Big Ag-supporting reps out and tell them why you did it. Tell them what you think of their choices while they are still in office. Eat local as much as possible to keep our family farms alive. Get aware of the issues and participate, even when it frustrates you and angers you. Because, oh hell yes, they better watch out. We're awake now, and we know when they've been bad or good.


katiez said...

For some reason I thought the definition of organic meant organic!
Huh, shows what I know!

The Expatriate Chef said...

We consumers are on a need to know basis in the states. We only need to know what Big Ag wants to tell us.

jen said...

it all makes me want to weep.

why is it so freaking hard to simply do the right thing anymore?