Monday, June 02, 2008

Catching Up on News

Hmmm. Just a few hundred links in the RSS reader. Here are a few of note.

What do wheat, corn, global food prices and Enron have in common?
A very detailed post at IATP explains how market speculation helped create both Enron and a sizable piece of the global food crisis. It's not just corn-based ethanol and gas prices. Farmers are on the line as well here despite the record crop prices. The final quote from a farmer is haunting, "We're commoditizing everything, and losing sight that it's food, that it's something people need," he said. "We're trading lives.

The Farm Bill is Done. For Now.
Well, at least until we try again in a few years. No major subsidy reform. A bit of veto threats and override drama on Capital Hill. And, now what remains. A good debate of pro and con can be found over at Grist.

Food Stamps Contribute to Obesity?!
I thought the blog post was some opinionated blogger, but no, the url shows USDA in the string. This study examines the relationship between obesity and food stamp program participation. The article actually states "One hypothesis of how food stamp participation causes weight gain is that benefit amounts are too high, causing participants to spend more money on food and, thus, consume more food than they otherwise would."

Up top, the benefit level for each month in 2007 was $96 per person and $215 per household, which translates roughly to $3.20 per person per day or $7.16 per household per day to spend on food. Not sure how that amount could be construed at "too high." Especially these days.

Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the article does it tie the fact that the lowest-nutrition, most calorie-dense foods happen to be the cheapest. And, that these foods are all based on what used to be artificially-cheap subsidized crops (now, they are artificially-high prices, see first link.). But you don't think the USDA would point fingers at its own failure with our agriculture policy and food supply?

Even so, suggesting food stamp recipients are doing too well on their allowance is ludicrous. Here is an article by one food editor about the week she tried to feed her family on a food stamp budget. It's up for a James Beard award. Kudos to her.

Ah, only 258 most RSS reader links to go. Maybe later.

1 comment:

Lynn from organicmania.com said...

Good points re the food stamp program. I totally agree with you.

I remember when I was a cashier at the local grocery store while in High School. I used to be shocked that people got government money to buy soda, crackers, and cookies. I thought back then it should have been restricted to "real food" and still do. Just think about the linkages between nutrition and learning - and all the poor kids growing up eating crap when they could be eating eggs, cheese, and other real foods.

I guess that's another reason they now offer free breakfast or FARMS in the schools.