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Posts Tagged ‘Farm Bill’

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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From New York to New Mexico, Modest Public Investments Support Healthy Food for All

In a recent post, I wrote about the health benefits—and attendant reductions in health care spending—that could be achieved if public policies helped all Americans to eat healthy foods instead of subsidizing ingredients for junk food. While data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) consistently show that people in every state and at every income level are falling short of dietary recommendations for fruits and vegetables, low-income Americans have the steepest hill to climb.

They also have the most to gain. That’s why I was excited to learn recently about an innovative organization in New York City that is putting public and private funds to work to increase access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables for residents of some of the city’s most economically ailing neighborhoods. Read More

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The $11 Trillion Reward (Or, How Congress Could Improve Health, Save Lives, and Shrink the Deficit in One Easy Step)

It’s August in Washington, DC, and that means two things—the tomatoes at my farmers market are juicy and delicious, and Congress has cleared out and gone home. Both highly anticipated events, but this year, the two are linked in an unusual way.

You see, when Congress split last week, they left a critical piece of food and farm legislation to grow cold on their plate. And while you might think that the “Farm Bill” is mostly of interest to farmers, a new report unveiled by UCS this week shows that we all have a huge stake in what Congress does (or doesn’t do) with this legislation. Read More

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