Tag Archives: food policy

Subsidy Garden?

Going through my email this morning turned up the latest from farm policy. White House has laid out a graphic there that speaks loads about the disconnect between reality and what should be our Subsidy in this country…

I was really inspired by the diversity and nutritiousness of the crops planted in the Which Garden Model Should We Be Showering with Our Taxdollars? | Kitchen Gardeners International kitchen garden this spring (see above) and thought it would be eye-opening – not to mention jaw-dropping – to see what the White House garden would look like if it were planted to reflect the relative importance of the crops that our taxdollars are actually supporting.

As you’ll see, there’s very little resemblance between America’s Kitchen Garden and our “Which food production model should we be showering with our tax dollars? Garden.” I know that some will say that countries shouldn’t be subsidizing agiculture at all, but the reality is that they are and, as long as they are, citizens should have a voice in how those subsidies are spent.

via What if the U.S.D.A Subsidized Gardens?.

 

Which food production model should we be showering with our tax dollars?

The Real Health Care Reform

Something I keep pushing in the healthcare reform debate…Agriculture is key to real reform.

Recently a team of designers from M.I.T. and Columbia was asked by the foundation of the insurer UnitedHealthcare to develop an innovative systems approach to tackling childhood obesity in America. Their conclusion surprised the designers as much as their sponsor: they determined that promoting the concept of a “foodshed” — a diversified, regional food economy — could be the key to improving the American diet.

All of which suggests that passing a health care reform bill, no matter how ambitious, is only the first step in solving our health care crisis. To keep from bankrupting ourselves, we will then have to get to work on improving our health — which means going to work on the American way of eating.

via Michael Pollan – Big Food vs. Big Insurance – NYTimes.com.

Sissy Farmer? I don’t think so…

Stumbling through my news reader I came across a reference and a video of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I have been aware of the work Joel is doing for a while. His success with Polyface is an inspiration that will become more important as we go forward in the coming years.

The following video isn’t the one that started this muse…The one that started the muse can be found here: Wayfaring Wanderer: Brighter Days Ahead.

Here is the biographical info from the Polyface, Inc website…

Joel Salatin, 50, is a fulltime farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm fulltime in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas.

The farm services more than 1,500 families, 10 retail outlets, and 30 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.

He holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and AMERICAN AGRICULTURALIST.

The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, GOURMET and countless other radio,television and print media. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by food writer guru Michael Pollan.

via Polyface, Inc..

This past fall Fred First was in on a tour of the farm with a group from the Society of Environmental Journalists. His writeup of the trip starts this way…

None its “many faces” are very showy. As a matter of fact, from the ground or the air, nothing seems all that different about this plateaued 550 acres of Central Virginia valley farmland near the community of Middlebrook.

To the casual observer, it may seem just so much pasture and woods and soil and the occasional outbuilding. But Polyface Farm represents an innovative “foodshed” (think watershed) from which food products flow, grown from the ground up–which seems only reasonable for a farm, after all–from earthworms to pastured chickens and rabbits and cattle, as if the earth really mattered.

Every element of the process holds an elevated status there. Soil is more than just dirt there, and as Joel Salatin says, his farm honors the “pigness of the pig.”

via Polyface Part II | Fragments From Floyd.

Take a few minutes and follow the links and find out what real sustainable agriculture can be…

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What, exactly, is a healthful food?

I have a confession to make…I just discovered Marion Nestle and her blog Food Politics. I know, I’m slow on the uptake sometimes.

I find that my feelings about food are becoming somewhat activistic…I am getting more upset by the industrialization of our food on a daily basis. So you can expect to see more of these posts in the coming days…

When it comes to food, defining “healthy” is a major preoccupation of food companies these days. Marketers are falling all over each other trying to label food products with numbers or symbols to convince you that their products are better-for-you choices. These, as I keep saying see posts under “Scoring systems”, are about marketing, not health.

Now, the Strategic Alliance, the component of the Oakland-based Prevention Institute devoted to “promoting healthy food and activity environments,” has produced a working definition of a healthful food. Its report, Setting the Record Straight: Nutritionists Define Healthful Food, applies three principles: Healthful food should be 1 wholesome, 2 produced in ways that are good for people, animals, and natural resources, and 3 available, accessible, and affordable.

via Food Politics » What, exactly, is a healthful food?.

p.s. Mark Bittman has the same reference on his blog today. He links to the pdf for the organization…

Our definition of healthful food is not limited to the nutrients that a food contains. Our definition recognizes that healthful food comes from a food system where food is produced, processed, transported, and marketed in ways that are environmentally sound, sustainable and just. The current industrial food system, with its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers, antibiotics, and intensive farming practices fails to meet this standard. It pollutes the air, water, and soil, harms farm animals, and endangers the health of those who work to feed us.

via Setting the Record Straight: Nutritionists Define Healthful Food