Can Fixing the American Food System Be This Easy?
With the clamorous debates about food and food policy these days, nearly everyone has a targeted opinion, and possibly a solution, as to how Americans should be eating better.
At the center of our food system, we have American farmers, who have been struggling for too many years to remain vital, and in business, in an economy that rarely honors the hard work and perseverance such farmers provide. But the U.S. Government provides subsidies to farmers who grow commodity crops (like soy and corn) that are eventually turned into low-quality food additives or junk food, instead of rewarding farmers who supply us with quality whole foods. What if there were an equation, or a fix of some sort, that would address all the nutritional and economic inequities of the current system and create a more egalitarian and healthful model?
Well, we all want to believe it is just so easy, and maybe it is. A recent graphic that appeared on Upworthy.com reveals a “Plant the Plate” plan that makes simple and compelling sense. The plan, which comes courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an organization that was formed to “initiate a critical and continuing examination of governmental policy in areas where science and technology are of actual or potential significance” and to “devise means for turning research applications away from the present emphasis on military technology toward the solution of pressing environmental and social problem,” posits the discrepancies between what Americans eat versus what they should be eating to maintain a healthy diet. In addition, it shows how providing for such an imbalance will bring more money and security into our ailing farm economy. I could dissect and interpret such a plan, but I think it is likely best to look at the graph, as it could not be more clear:
So thoughts? Can we provide for our nutritional needs while economically bolstering our national farming community? Do you see inherent problems or holes in this model, or do you feel that such a nuanced and pervasive problem can be fixed with such an easy solution?