Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bringing Advocacy to the Table

I’ve been told not to discuss politics at the dinner table. But what happens when the political discussion is about my dinner table, or at least what’s on it?

The Farm Bill, which is up for review this year, will bring the issue of what our country eats and how that food is grown to the Hill. Congress has started hearings this week, and it’s expected that the big decisions will be made in May and June.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, writes in the New York Times that in the past, the Farm Bill hasn’t garnered much attention outside of the farm states. But he thinks this year is different; “The public-health community has come to recognize it can’t hope to address obesity and diabetes without addressing the farm bill. The environmental community recognizes that as long as we have a farm bill that promotes chemical and feedlot agriculture, clean water will remain a pipe dream. The development community has woken up to the fact that global poverty can’t be fought without confronting the ways the farm bill depresses world crop prices.”

And even more than that, Americans in general are starting to get fed up with how we’re being fed. I bet I’m not the only one who’s tired of paying more for an apple than I would pay for a candy bar; who’s concerned about the chemicals in her salad and who’s appalled by the food she sees served to our children at school.

That rule about politics at the dinner table? Old news. Americans are ready to be invovled in the process that determines what they eat, and I’m guessing that this year, the Farm Bill will be big news for our country with big changes for our bellies.

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