Have you been paying attention to the 2012 Farm Bill? That’s what I thought.
According to Food Democracy Now! the Farm Bill is the single most important piece of legislation moving through Congress. It determines what type of food is available to your family, the fate of vital programs that feed hungry children across the country, how farmers will be paid government subsidies, and what type of environmental protections will preserve the land and topsoil for future generations.
Yeah, that’s pretty important.
The votes that take place in the next week or so will determine which provisions will make it into the Farm Bill and create the policies that we all want to build a better food and farm future. When you’ve got lots of money, it’s easy to buy whatever high quality organic food you want, but there are lots of people who think income shouldn’t matter when it comes to healthy eating.
That’s why some of the best loved celebrity chefs in the nation (along with food policy experts, nutritionists, CEOs and environment and health organizations) recently sent an open letter to Members of Congress urging them to reinvest in programs that help people grow and consume more local, organic and healthy food.
Here is an excerpt:
…the Senate bill falls far short of the reforms needed to come to grips with the nation’s critical food and farming challenges. It is also seriously out of step with the nation’s priorities and what the American public expects and wants from our food and farm policy. In a national poll last year, 78 percent said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and accessible should be a top priority in the farm bill. Members of the U.S. Council of Mayors and the National League of Cities have both echoed this sentiment in recent statements calling for a healthy food and farm bill.
Although the committee proposal includes important reforms to the commodity title, we are deeply concerned that it would continue to give away subsidies worth tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to the largest commodity crop growers, insurance companies, and agribusinesses even as it drastically underfunds programs to promote the health and food security of all Americans, invest in beginning and disadvantaged farmers, revitalize local food economies and protect natural resources. We strongly object to any cuts in food assistance during such dire times for so many Americans. These critical shortcomings must be addressed when the bill goes to the Senate floor.
“We need a farm bill that supports farmers, rural communities, and those who are hungry, not a bill that gives unlimited subsidies to the biggest commodity producers while at the same time cutting programs for the neediest among us,” said Anna Lappé, author of Diet for a Hot Planet and cofounder of the Small Planet Institute. “We stand with the millions of Americans who share this common sense perspective.”
TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators today and tell them the 2012 Food and Farm Bill must put healthy food, family farmers and the environment ahead of corporate interests.
Image via Thinkstock