Michael Pollan strikes again. This past Sunday’s NY Times article “You Are What You Grow” makes a good case for tuning in to the current debate about the Farm Bill. Far from being an incomprehensible wonkish piece on policy, Pollan easily takes us through the ins and outs of how the Farm Bill effects everyone of us. Obesity, food cost, school food, immigration, globalhttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif poverty and rural landscapes are all part of the package. In fact, many people, Pollan included, are talking about how this Farm Bill should really be thought of as more of a Food Bill since there is such a deep link between farm policy and what we find on our dinner plates. It is a compelling argument and one that deserves serious thought.
When referring to commodity farming (corn and soy) and subsidies, everything in this article is true. However, I wish there had been a little bit more about the history of these programs and how we have arrived at overproduction and subsidy payments. Without that context, I am afraid that readers might blame the farmers for the unbalanced system described in this article. Nitpicking aside, this is an excellent introduction to why EVERYONE should care about the Farm (aka Food) Bill.
For a full explanation of the farm subsidy program, see Pollan’s other excellent articles and books, including his latest, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.