Food and Farming
The Obama administration has pledged to end childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015. Meeting that goal will depend on whether Congress expedites or undermines this ambitious endeavor. And it has to act soon.
KFC, the fast-food chicken chain, has already gotten permission from Indianapolis to whiz on its hydrants. As part of an advertising blitz, KFC has plastered the city’s water taps with a smiling photo of corporate founder Colonel Sanders, along with a slogan promoting the chain’s new “fiery” chicken wings.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture skipped the crop establishment program and instead launched a minor provision intended to help develop new collection, harvest, storage, and transport methods by matching the price paid for delivered biomass, up to $45 a ton. The USDA didn’t draft rules or put them out for comment, but instead issued a simple notice of funding availability with few restrictions.
Nationally, typical low-income neighborhoods have 30 percent fewer supermarkets than higher-income neighborhoods. The problem isn’t only in urban areas; food deserts are also common in many rural communities. Across the country, too many families are forced to do their food shopping in convenience stores stocked with overpriced, highly processed, fatty food with low nutritional value, often past its expiration date. In stores like these, staples such as milk can cost more than at supermarkets.
U.S. citizens have a choice: Accept an economic future dictated by the selfish interests of corporate managers and stockholders, encouraging extreme disparities of wealth and power with our environment destroyed around the world, or demand a strong democratic government dedicated more to the common good.
Even with concerns about childhood obesity and related health conditions reaching new heights, fast food mascot Ronald McDonald remains the most recognizable icon to children around the world—second only to Santa Claus. But the clown is at a crossroads.