Sure, they talk a good game
When it comes to healthy eating, the US government might talk a good game. I mean, we’ve got organic gardening at the White House and the USDA’s new plate model piled high with veggies. But while they’re talking the talk, are they walking the walk?
Put simply: No.
All you have to do is take a look at the Senate’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill to see the truth. If they’re so concerned with Americans having a healthy diet why are our tax dollars flowing straight into programs that boost the growing of the very crops that are featured in processed foods?
Most of the money in the 2012 Farm Bill goes to commodity crops including corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat. These are the raw materials that make up the junk food they’re telling us we should stay away from. Not to mention some of the top crops grown by Big Agri giants like Monsanto.
In fact, between 2008 and 2010, the Farm Bill spent a whopping $39.4 billion dollars on commodity crops. That’s EIGHT TIMES more than it spent on crops like vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
An open letter to Congress signed by more than 70 reps of farms and healthy-food organizations pleads with Congress to match their actions with the government’s supposed concerns.
And that’s not all. They want Congress to actually step up to what the American public is asking for. In a national poll from last summer, 78 percent of the respondents said a top priority of the Farm Bill should be to make healthy foods more affordable and accessible. But there’s nothing in the 2012 Farm Bill to make that happen.
The bottom line of the open letter is this: Lawmakers need to cut the commodity and subsidy programs and redirect the funds to researching and supporting the growth of foods that are healthy and sustainable. That means funding nutrition assistance programs and strengthening programs that support healthy food and organic growers.
It’s critical that the 2012 Farm Bill be changed. After all, it is a guide for the next five years of policy. So what’s it going to be? Five years of the same old, same old? Or is the government actually going to put our money where their mouths are?
You can learn more about the criticisms leveled against the 2012 Farm Bill by reading the open letter here (this link will open a PDF on your computer).
If you’d like to voice your opinion on the 2012 Farm Bill to your representative, you can use this page to find his or her contact information.
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“Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012,” United States Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition & Forestry (ag.senate.gov)
“An open letter to members of Congress,” http://static.ewg.org/pdf/EWG-farmbill-06042012.pdf
“2012 Farm Bill Advances Under Pressure Over Healthy Food,” Food Safety News (foodsafetynews.com)