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Posts Tagged ‘Farm Bill’

Healthy Food and Hospitals Go Together Like Peas and Carrots

Recently I visited Helsinki, Finland, where in midsummer locals and tourists alike buy fresh peas at the outdoor market, shelling and eating them out of the pod while walking down the Esplanade. I’ve never seen so many people—young people, old people, even babies in strollers—snacking on raw vegetables on the street. Read More

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How Monsanto Supersized a Problem in Under Three Minutes

Well actually, it took about 5 years for our friends at the Monsanto Company to start turning regular old weeds into a crisis of “superweeds.” But they did it, and another decade on, farmers everywhere are paying the price. Now, using the magic of speed-drawing, we’ve taken this age-old tale of weedy villains and chemical “superheroes” (with fatal flaws), and boiled it down to just 2:29. Read More

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The Long Road to Healthier Living

In February, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published data in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting that obesity rates for pre-school-aged children are declining. On Monday, a different team of scientists published a study in JAMA Pediatrics which found no such decline, and also that rates of severe childhood obesity are climbing. Both studies agreed that overall child obesity rates have stalled for the last decade. Read More

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Beet Still My Heart: A Valentine Message for the USDA

When I was a little kid, I loved those candy “conversation hearts” we exchanged on Valentine’s Day. I always wanted the ones that said “Be Mine” and (most exciting) “Kiss Me”. Those little treats are still fun—though they look a bit different today, emblazoned as they are with previously unknown sentiments including “Text Me” and “LOL”. But this Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking less about heart-shaped candy, and more about my actual heart (and yours), and what they need to beat long into the future. Read More

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How a (Farm) Bill Became a Law

Much has been written about the ugly sausage-making of the just-ended farm bill process: the abandoned opportunity to truly reform the nation’s farm subsidy system, the cynical refusal to deny subsidies to millionaire farmers, and the 4 percent of food stamp beneficiaries who ultimately took it on the chin. But now that President Obama has signed the thing into law, it’s worth reviewing a number of real and meaningful wins that UCS and its allies and supporters achieved in this bill. And also noting that our work isn’t done. Read More

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Thanks to You, We Won The “Sound Science” Battle

Yesterday, I was feeling both cynical and depressed about the state of affairs in Washington. The farm bill had been approved, but certainly it wasn’t the ideal. While urging passing of the bill, our Food and Environment program, while appreciative of some of the progress it made, acknowledged its limitations and its unfulfilled potential. Many of us also are keenly aware that food stamp cuts of billions of dollars may compromise the well-being of tens of thousands of American families. Read More

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Why Support a Flawed Farm Bill?

After more than two years of twists, turns, delays, and unfathomable political machinations, the House of Representatives has just passed a new Farm Bill—that massive, 5-year piece of legislation that governs what our nation’s agriculture and food system looks like. This should be cause for celebration…but my reaction is much more tempered. As an advocate for a healthier, more sustainable food system, I like some pieces of the bill very much. As a person who thinks that no American in 2014 should go hungry, I also worry about some of its provisions. Read More

Categories: Food and Agriculture  

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Lumps of Coal in the House-Passed Farm Bill

There’s an old and well honored legislative strategy of tucking otherwise unacceptable and noxious proposals into must-pass bills. The hope is that House and Senate members, seeking compromise on a final piece of legislation, may be so relieved to get a deal on the big-ticket items that some of the smaller bits can get through, too. Read More

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A Food Day Wish List: More Veggies, Less Corn

Okay, yes, sometimes corn is a vegetable. But most of the time, it’s something else entirely—highly processed corn syrup in a can of soda, for example, or a fast food burger made from a corn-fed cow. Sadly, today the average American is eating too much of those junk foods, and not enough fruits and vegetables. But while the impacts on public health are dramatic (see this recent report on the costs of diet-related heart disease, for example), that’s not the whole story. Read More

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Small Insect’s Big Lessons for the Farm Bill: Agroecology and Breeding Top Monsanto’s Industrial Agriculture

My last post discussed the success of public sector scientists who discovered and developed genes in soybean, using conventional breeding, that confer resistance to the invasive soybean aphid. These insects cost US farmers billions of dollars per year.

In contrast, an article in the New York Times in late July used the dramatic example of citrus greening disease, which is threatening the citrus industry in the US, to tout the possibility of GE to remedy challenging pest problems. Whether these will eventually work is far from certain. But we should keep in mind that while such future promises catch the public’s eye, breeding continuously makes significant advances in crop improvement. Read More

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