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Farm Bill Wish List: More Veggies, Less Corn

Okay, yes, sometimes corn is a vegetable. But most of the time, it’s something else entirely—highly processed corn syrup in a can of soda, for example, or a fast food burger made from a corn-fed cow. Sadly, today the average American is eating too much of those junk foods, and not enough fruits and vegetables. But while the impacts on public health are dramatic (see this recent report on the costs of diet-related heart disease, for example), that’s not the whole story. Read more

When Some Farm Subsidies Go Away, Will Our Food System Be Healthy?

Every good foodie knows that farm subsidies are the root of all evil and a big reason why obesity rates continue to rise, right? This thinking has become so commonplace among the good food movement that we’ve stopped questioning this assumption and pretty much take it as gospel.

But now is a critical time to start asking questions about what the consequences would be–intended or otherwise–if subsidies go away. This week, Congressional agriculture committees proposed cutting $23 billion out of Farm Bill programs over the next 10 years, and by most reports, one type of farm subsidies called direct payments are the first thing on the chopping block. Even the corn and soybean lobbies seem resigned to the end of direct payments to growers of commodity crops. Read more

Farm Policy in the Next Presidency

In fifteen days, Americans will make an important decision: who will take the reigns and get us out of this mess.  One topic the candidates have mostly left out of their speeches on the campaign trail thus far is food.  Whether they realize it or not, when either John McCain or Barack Obama sit down next January to begin the task of fixing our economy, to promote green energy in order to produce the jobs they’ve both promised, and to deal with the climate crisis and health care, food will be the unavoidable issue that keeps cropping up. Read more