Saturday, June 09, 2007

Opening Up the Debate on Farm Policy

It's called the farm bill, but it might be appropriate to call it the food bill. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans work in agriculture, while all Americans eat.
As I previously noted, the farm bill is largely written by and for farm interests, and there has been little interest in changing federal food policy, until now. Those concerned about the effects of U.S. farm policy on the environment and nutrition are taking an interest in the farm bill, now being drafted. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) has decided that food policy should reflect the interests of all Americans, not just those who work in agriculture, and is promoting what he calls The Food & Farm Bill of Rights:
1. Americans have a right to a policy free of special interest giveaways.
2. American taxpayers have a right to a fiscally responsible policy.
3. Americans have a right to a policy that serves all farmers.
4. Americans have a right to a safe and healthful food supply.
5. American children have a right to good nutrition.
6. Americans have a right to local supplies of fresh food.
7. Americans have a right to a policy that promotes energy independence.
8. Americans have a right to a policy that protects the environment.
9. Americans have a right to preserve farmland from sprawl.
10. Americans have a right to a policy that fosters sustainable farming practices.
Another group, called the Farm and Food Policy Project, is pushing for food policy reform to improve the availability of healthy, fresh and local food. You can learn how farm policy has affects the way we deplete environment resources, waste energy and subsidize obesity and its related health problems. You can also join them in sending a message to Congress.


Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

I misread #1 as "Americans have a right to a policy of free special interest giveaways." I couldn't believe that anyone would be so brazen to admit what so many actually believe....

5:06 PM, June 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is obvious that the public is being placed in a second tier and corporations have been moved up to the first tier, since 2000.

It is not only in food that this has happened. Clean Air, Water Purity Standards, workplace safety standards, Forestry practices, have all been rolled back to the dangerous levels that existed before legislation was implemented.

With the publics focus on other issues such as Iraq, these have quietly been signed by executive order with no debate attached.

As upcoming elections approach, this question needs to be posed to each candidate: if you had to make a choice, between something that would benefit business interests, but harm the public, or something that would benefit the public, but harm business interests, which way would you decide to vote?

6:37 AM, June 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The infamous Roger Roy-engendered epilogued law: public/private partnerships, are next in line for "corp. rape of public resources. (sorry).
While 2000 is a number that makes sense, this trend shows the corps cuing up for this kind of largess during Reagan.

9:52 AM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Yes, special interests are able to shape legislation to their liking; that's hardly news.

Current farm policy leads to environmental and health consequences (unintended or otherwise) that we need to be concerned about. For instance, as points out, the cost of diet-related diseases comes to $100 billion a year. Current farm policy contributes to this public health problem by subsidizing calorie-intensive packaged foods.

If we want to change the outcome, we need to change the setting in which the issue is debated, in this case by opening up the discussion to include the 99 percent of Americans who eat but don't farm.

1:23 PM, June 11, 2007  

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