Food and Farming
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.
Almost $1.5 billion changed hands at farmers’ markets across the United States in 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of markets rose by 16 percent last year–from 5,247 to 6,132. More than three million Americans regularly buy food from the more than 60,000 farmers who sell at these markets each year.
The television series Mad Men, set in the early 1960s, shocks young parents today with scenes of children riding in station wagons without seat belts and putting dry cleaning bags over their heads for fun. Thank goodness so much more about keeping our kids healthy is now known, we chuckle.
Who needs $6 billion? I do! Especially during the holiday season when I try to balance my budget and ever-growing Santa wish lists. I can also tell you who doesn’t need $6 billion this year: big oil and gas conglomerates. They just got a little extra via the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). If you can believe it–this tax credit–one of the best examples of wasteful spending out there–was attached to the tax cut deal President Obama negotiated with Republicans.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands of people who are working hard to get America’s schools to serve healthier food, including First Lady Michelle Obama, the $4.5 billion “Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act 2010” prevailed in the lame-duck session of Congress. The new law marks a key step toward potentially transforming the food served in America’s public schools.
Yes, the $400-billion-a-year retail behemoth, with two million employees laboring in 8,500 stores spread around the globe, now is putting on a “local” mask.
Most Americans view cheap meat as a good thing, but they generally don’t understand who pays the high cost of the policies making it inexpensive. More than 80 percent of the beef, pork and poultry consumed in this country comes from livestock fed and processed by only three meatpacking companies: JBS-Swift, Cargill and Tyson. Through deregulation and antitrust practices, these companies have been allowed to devour smaller companies that both feed and process meat
This Thanksgiving, most farmers around my hometown in central Minnesota are celebrating a good harvest. Rain–for once–fell at the right time in the right amounts, and prices for many crops grown in Litchfield are high.
Some of America’s worst-paid and least-protected workers have scored agreements with two of the nation’s largest tomato growers after a 15 year labor dispute. They even got a long-overdue apology.
“In a free society, few are guilty, but all are responsible,” explained Jon Esformes, operating partner of Pacific Tomato Growers, the first to ink a deal with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. “The transgressions that took place are totally unacceptable today and they were totally unacceptable yesterday.”