Los Angeles

In the News… Friday, July 13, 2007

† The Two Americas of Food?: Are there two Americas for food, one for the well-off and well-located, and the another for the rest (i.e., the most)? This is the question posted by Anna Lappé in her essay, “Reflections on the 2007 Farm Bill.” Lappé asks:

. . . [H]ow do we close this food gap? One answer is immediately before us, embodied in two little words: the Farm Bill, and Congress is debating it right now.

Policies set in the Farm Bill largely determine what food we produce, who has access to it, and whose health we prioritize as a nation. Renegotiated every five years, the Farm Bill shapes much about food system, determining how $90 billion in taxpayers’ money is spent every year. . . .

With Farm Bill renegotiations in full swing, we have a small window – shutting fast – to bring the fairness we expect from our economy into the food chain. Hundreds of organizations – from big environmental players to community food groups – have been working on strategies to do just that.

† Speaking of the Farm Bill…: Another article by Carol Ness in the San Francisco Chronicle on “the new food crusade” and why the Farm Bill is really the “Food, Health, and Farm Bill” that affects everyone–farmer or not–who cares about the food they consume. The article includes a series of links to online resources, and highlights the helpfulness of Dan Imhoff’s book, Food Fight, which we’ve previously spotlighted for Slow Food members and friends.

† The $20 Challenge: Local blog LAist underscores that you can enjoy a bounty of fresh produce from local farmers’ markets for $20 or less. A nice illustration of why farmers’ markets are a great resource for people across the economic spectrum.

† Concerns about GMOs, here and abroad: The Ethicurean shared interesting information from the USDA about transgenic crops in the United States. The numbers–and the prevalence of transgenic material in the food supply–may surprise you.

In related news thousands of Italian farmers this week protested the lack of origin labeling on agricultural products. In light of news about contamination of food products (including the recent recalls of pet foods tainted with toxic chemicals that resulted in the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats in the U.S.), debates about the level of detail in food labeling are attracting more attention. More reasons for eating locally grown products and getting to know (and support) the people who produce it.

† Wendell Berry: Food and Consequence: The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune has a Q&A with Wendell Berry that touches on the benefits of supporting local economies, how buying out-of-season produce has consequences, and what individuals can do to reshape the food economy. (Thanks, again to The Ethicurean for the pointer.)