Few legislative texts are as essential as the Farm Bill. Reshaped every five years, this piece of legislation plays a major role in defining the American food system. It frames the priorities of the US agricultural policy (say, increase commodity crops for exports and biofuels). Historically, it has also provided the biggest source of funding for food, nutrition and conservation programs. So when the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry issued its draft of the new farm bill, last week, a lot of people got upset: the budget for the aforementioned programs gets the axe, while subsidies benefitting plush corporate farms are maintained under a new name. Meanwhile, organic agriculture in general, and small producers of health-promoting foods like fruits and vegetables in particular, are set to receive no more than the usual crumbs.
Read Grist’s article, and click on its links, to get a good picture of the situation.
If you’re curious about a wider historical context, definitely check out this Civil Eats review of the new edition of Daniel Imhoff’s book “Food Fight”.
Finally, if your readings inspire you to take action to support a different kind of farm bill, sign this petition co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group and CREDO Action Network.
Looking at the bigger picture, if you’re interested in Washington committing to 5 public policies that can shake the structure of our current food system, add your voice to the nourish9billion.org campaign.