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FOOD for THOUGHT: The Politics of Food Part II

It's easier to eat healthily if healthy food is prevalent & inexpensive.Many of us lost our health eating habits because the opposite is true.Health should be more important than agribusiness profits.

(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.

 

NOTE:

 

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.

Author Unknown

 

CONTACT INFO:

 

MA SENATORS:

 

Brown, Scott P. - (R - MA)

Class I

359 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4543

Web Form: www.scottbrown.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailscottbrown

 

Kerry, John F. - (D - MA)

Class II

218 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-2742

Web Form: www.kerry.senate.gov/contact/

 

 

MA CONGRESS PERSONS:

 

Representative John W. Olver (D - 01) 

https://olverforms.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/defau …

202-225-5335

 

Representative Richard E. Neal (D - 02)

https://forms.house.gov/neal/webforms/Contact_Form.sh …

202-225-5601

 

Representative Jim McGovern (D - 03)

https://mcgovernforms.house.gov/contact-jim-mcgovern

202-225-6101

 

Representative Barney Frank (D - 04)

https://frank.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

202-225-5931

 

Representative Niki Tsongas (D - 05)

https://tsongasforms.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=11 …

202-225-3411

 

Representative John F. Tierney (D - 06)

https://forms.house.gov/tierney/webform/issue_subscri …

202-225-8020

 

Representative Ed Markey (D - 07)

http://markey.house.gov/contact

202-225-2836

 

Representative Michael E. Capuano (D - 08)

http://www.house.gov/capuano/contact/email.shtml

202-225-5111

 

Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D - 09)

https://lynch.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

202-225-8273

 

Representative William Keating (D - 10)

https://forms.house.gov/keating/webforms/contact.shtml

202-225-3111

 

 

NEARBY SENATORS:

 

Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH)

Class III

144 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-3324

Web Form: www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact

 

Shaheen, Jeanne - (D - NH)

Class II

520 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-2841

Web Form: www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/

 

Blumenthal, Richard - (D - CT)

Class III

702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-2823

Web Form: www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/

 

Lieberman, Joseph I. - (ID - CT)

Class I

706 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4041

Web Form: www.lieberman.senate.gov/index.cfm/contact/email-me-about...

 

Lautenberg, Frank R. - (D - NJ)

Class II

324 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-3224

Web Form: www.lautenberg.senate.gov/contact/routing.cfm

 

Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ)

Class I

528 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4744

Web Form: menendez.senate.gov/contact/

 

Gillibrand, Kirsten E. - (D - NY)

Class I

478 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-4451

Web Form: www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/

 

Schumer, Charles E. - (D - NY)

Class III

322 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510

(202) 224-6542

Web Form: www.schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm

 


 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bobby Calo November 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Thanks for this - It is the voice of reason and I hope change.
Anastasia O'Malley December 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Thank you for being part of the change!

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