Food and Farming
Mother Nature found a cruel way to demonstrate the difference between political rhetoric and reality when this summer’s record-breaking drought coincided with the writing of a new U.S. Farm Bill.
Although my Mississippi community has fared pretty well this summer, the worst drought in a generation is jeopardizing more than half of U.S. cropland. Thousands of farmers are facing tough decisions, especially if they own livestock. Dairy farmers face a triple threat — feed costs are at record highs, heat stress is reducing milk production, and dairy cooperatives aren’t paying enough for wholesale milk, thanks in part to failed policy. Some farmers are seeking hay, grain, or silage to feed their cows; others are selling now to cut their losses.
Food geneticists, for example. These technicians have the smarts to tinker with the inner workings of Momma Nature’s own good foods — but not the smarts to leave well enough alone.
New York City, ever the leader in healthy living, is about to ban the sale of super-sized sodas and other sweetened drinks by its restaurants, movie theaters, and street carts.
And now, for some happy talk — by which I mean a non-corporate, “little-d” democratic, and altogether pleasurable economic development that’s spreading across our country. In a word: beer.
Some people complain that their town has gone to the dogs. Bastrop, Texas has gone to the chickens — and Bastropians are proud of it.
If you’re one who enjoys a steak dinner now and again, let me ask this question: do you prefer it with a nice sauce, a side of garlicky spinach — or maybe some transglutaminase?
From the equipment, chemicals, and seeds on the farm, to farmers and food workers, to supermarkets and consumers, there’s not a part of food and agriculture that big, often multinational, corporations don’t dominate.