Town On The Farm
"Congress is rapidly deciding the fate of America's food supply: what's grown, how it's produced and by whom, and how that food will affect our health and the planet. [T]he big picture is not pretty: increasingly centralized power over food, abetted by lax antitrust policies and farm subsidies that provide the meat industry and food-processing corporations with cheap raw ingredients; huge subsidies for corn and soy, most of which ends up as auto fuel, livestock feed, and additives for junk food, fattening America's waistlines while soiling the environment; and, despite organic food's rising popularity, a farming system that's still heavily reliant on toxic pesticides (500,000 tons per year), which pollute our waterways and bloodstreams while gobbling up millions of gallons of fossil fuel. As a nation we consume (quite literally) some 100 billion gallons of oil annually in the making and long-distance transport of our food supply."
"But even as the congressional Farm Bill battles grind toward a mostly disconcerting conclusion, it's not too soon to look beyond this omnivore's omnibus, and begin considering a national movement of progressive urban food bills. Cities and states have enormous purchasing power and are slowly taking the lead: San Francisco's Department of Public Health is devising sustainable procurement policies to buy more local and organic produce; some city and state food policy councils, such as Minnesota's, are helping smaller organic farmers survive by linking them up with urban markets; and the California Assembly last year passed a pilot measure to help develop new fresh produce markets in poor neighborhoods."
"Change is coming piecemeal on the local level, and needs a serious booster shot. A movement of progressive urban food bills could help galvanize and expand local efforts and create a new food infrastructure that truly sustains our health, ecologies and economies - and could help buck the trend toward increasingly monopolistic supermarkets that eschew poor districts and shut out small farmers and food companies."