(Dietary changes should be discussed with a health care provider.)
(Legislative changes should be discussed with the people.)
Here is the brief version of my next political plea – brief because it is a busy holiday week and because a reader mentioned that the posts were getting a little too long.
Now that the distraction of campaigning is over, our elected representatives must return to long tabled issues such as the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill only comes up for revision EVERY FIVE YEARS; so, this is an important opportunity. What does the farm bill govern? Among other things it regulates who gets the “food” subsidies.
One thing food subsidies should do is make nutritious food affordable and therefore accessible to the general population – as well as make growing them a worthwhile risk to the individual farmers. Checkmark on the affordable & accessible part, but not on the nutritious part or even on the FOOD part. And I am not even going by my higher than average standard. The corn that is being subsidized is not the golden, sweet corn that we see at the roadside farm, of which we pick up ears in passing to shuck or grill on a beautiful summer day. In most cases it’s not even the fresh frozen kernels, cornmeal or popcorn that we enjoy on occasion. It is the big agribusinesses’ corn used for corn flour, corn starch, malto-dextrin and, in very large quantities, CORN SYRUP that make up the simple starches and other added sugar in processed food -- the processed food which is so unhealthy yet so cheap & available, because we put a down-payment on it with our tax dollars.
Then we pay for it three times over; we pay with our own dollars and our tax dollars when we pay for ever increasing health care costs, and we pay WITH OUR OWN HEALTH.
What am I proposing we change? Over the next five years we either step down the farm subsidies so that most are removed altogether, or gradually transfer the subsidies to vegetables. Everybody needs vegetables. You can take or leave many combinations of the meat, the fish, the grains, the beans, but there is no substitute for vegetables!
There are common areas of our country where children don’t get vegetables (other than ketchup – which is still a vegetable according to the government) because:
- Vegetables are too expensive.
- Vegetables are not available at any price… because they are not stocked… because even the cheaper ones are not profitable enough.
- A generation of children are being born to parents who don’t recognize many “common” vegetables as edible food because they never had a chance to become familiar with them and don’t have the knowledge to pass down.
Even in Westford people are telling me that eating healthily is too expensive for them. The schools are telling me that providing healthy food to our children is too expensive to be an option. The system has failed, but we have a chance to fix it! However, the time is right now, and the time is short, and the chance won’t come along again for FIVE YEARS.
CHALLENGE #17 of 50:
CALL YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSPEOPLE. Ask them to gradually, but effectively eliminate farm subsidies, or to transfer them to vegetable crops rather than commodity crops & chemical raw materials.
As with corn, very little of the subsidized soy is getting to your plate as green soybeans. It is going into the lecithin (emulsifiers), protein powders and soybean oils that are supporting our processed food habits.
QUOTE of the WEEK:
It might be more worthwhile if we stopped wringing our hands
and started ringing our congressmen.
Brown, Scott P. - (R - MA)
359 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Kerry, John F. - (D - MA)
218 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.kerry.senate.gov/contact/
MA CONGRESS PERSONS:
Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH)
144 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact
Shaheen, Jeanne - (D - NH)
520 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/
Blumenthal, Richard - (D - CT)
702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/
Lieberman, Joseph I. - (ID - CT)
706 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Lautenberg, Frank R. - (D - NJ)
324 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ)
528 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: menendez.senate.gov/contact/
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. - (D - NY)
478 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
Schumer, Charles E. - (D - NY)
322 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510