Food and Farming
Madison, Wisconsin is truly an amazing scene of beauty — as well as unprecedented political mobilization. Among the throngs of demonstrators, you’ll find Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, libertarians, and socialists walking together, discussing real solutions while sowing the seeds of solidarity.
A Dutch entomologist has seen the future of food, and–surprise!–it’s not where or what you might think it would be. “The Netherlands,” the professor says, “wants to be in the forefront of food.”
As concerns about the nation’s widening deficit grow louder, many of the Obama administration’s 2012 budget priorities are getting short shrift. It’s not only important to understand the government’s approach to hot-button issues like Medicare, military spending, and tax cuts for the wealthy. We need to pay attention to other critical issues.
As the radioactive contamination of food, water, and soil in Fukushima, Japan worsens, the media is continuously reassuring us that these levels are “safe.” But there is no safe level of radiation.
It’s fashionable to worry about China. One common fear is that China’s increasing demand for food will wreak havoc on international markets, causing mass starvation in food-importing countries. However, China uses safeguards to stave off food shortages. We could learn from its approach.
Ax-wielding Republicans and Democrats alike are madly whacking at our nation’s public programs in a political contest to show which of them is the scroogiest of all.
Despite treating her cows humanely, strictly adhering to milk production regulations, and carefully stewarding her land, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer I know is $70,000 in debt. She has no idea how she’ll repay her creditors or how much longer they will allow her to buy feed and other supplies before demanding payment. Without a fair price for her milk, she can’t accrue enough funds to pay off her debt. Most likely, she will have to sell her dairy cows and the family farm–the home and livelihood for her, her husband, and their children.
Of course you want your meat to be cheap, but the costs of producing so-called cheap meat come at a hidden price you might not want to pay. Corporate giant Smithfield Foods and other major producers use what is known as confinement or factory farming–keeping billions of animals in cramped cages and pens where they are susceptible to stress and disease.
We’re in a rut when it comes to taking action on climate change. Congress has stalled on passing climate legislation. International negotiators failed to agree on binding emission cuts in Cancun late last year. And it’s unclear whether the EPA will have the power to regulate greenhouse gases.