Congress last passed the Farm Bill in 2002, and it was widely criticized for rewarding large growers and further marginalizing small farmers. It's up for authorization this year, and it will have wide ranging affects on farm subsidies, research, rural development, and energy production. The implications are not just for growers, though--it affects what will appear on your dinner plate. Over at Talking Points Memo, Earl Blumenauer is promoting his Food and Farm Bill of Rights today.
Sixty percent of America's farmers and ranchers get no support while a great bulk of subsidies and federal support go directly to big special-interest corporations. It's even worse for people who grow most of our food: fruits, vegetables, and row crops are largely bypassed in favor of lavish subsidies for a few commodities. Here we have an opportunity to craft a policy that is fair to all farmers....
But most fundamentally, it affects everybody who eats in terms of their health, their pocketbook, and their quality of life. Children who are hungry are less healthy and perform poorly in school. Hardworking families struggling to put food on the table aren’t able to enjoy the stability and security they deserve. In short, it's hard to think of a policy moving its way through Congress that cries out for reform that will have more effect on the political process and on the lives of individual Americans than the Farm Bill.
What follows is a 10-point summary of the "rights" Rep. Blumenauer would like to see made law. Go have a look at it. Earl is using the post as a call to action, so once you read his argument (it's compelling), follow the link to the Food and Farm Bill of Rights website and find out how you can help him out.
And I need your help to achieve this. Over the course of this week here on TPM Café Table for One and beyond, I want to have a conversation about what our food and farm policy should be. We truly need a discussion of where we will place our priorities, not only for the next five years in the coming Farm Bill, but for decades to come....
I hope you will join me in this effort. Please head over to FoodandFarmBillofRights.com and sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Food and Farm Bill of Rights to make your voice heard.
The discussion is happening at TPM, so leave your comments there.
June 04, 2007 | | elsewhere.Posted in