Monday, April 23, 2007

Eating Close to Home

Those of us who think we’d be better off if our sources of food were closer to us should read the latest dispatch from Michael Pollan, who explained in Sunday’s Times Magazine why the Farm Bill about to come before Congress is bad not just for us elitists who can afford to shop at farmers markets for half the year but also for less well-off people looking to make the most out of their food money (and for the country's immigration problems, by the way).

Among many other good points, Pollan says that federal farm subsidies have made it possible for the price of corn-syrup-sweetened soft drinks to fall over the years while the price of real food has risen steeply:

...the farm bill does almost nothing to support farmers growing fresh produce. A result of these policy choices is on stark display in your supermarket, where the real price of fruits and vegetables between 1985 and 2000 increased by nearly 40 percent while the real price of soft drinks (a k a liquid corn) declined by 23 percent.

Here’s also a link to a January story in the Times mag whose subtitle should become the slogan of anyone interested in seeing the American way of eating improve: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

In fact just go here and read through the list. Pollan's one of the most important journalists working today.

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Blogger Tamara said...

That subtitle/slogan nicely summarizes the way my parents ate growing up in post WW II Italy.

I believe it's one reason why they're both enjoying such amazing health when many of their contemporaries have bathroom cabinets full of meds and doctor's visits are a routine occurrence.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well the guy can certainly write better than I can, so thanks for the link. Good point about it not even being a "farm bill" because they really mean huge corporations such as ADM. Oh, well. Those rusticators always seem to get what they wantm even if they have less and 2% of the population in their districts.

The "tortilla dilemma" is a little weird though. I live in South Texas with of course a large Hispanic population and they all eat tortillas every day. The flour and corn tortillas can be traced to increased diabetes because they don't eat much fruit and greens, other than chilies. Have you heard much about this?

So ... folks down here and in Mexico are really pissed because the way NAFTA and corn & flour pricing works, their tortillas cost almost double what they were last year. They're really pissed.

But wouldn't it be good to wean them off the diabetes feed anyway?

7:56 PM  

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