'Farm Bill' on Serious Eats

House Passes Farm Bill Without Addressing Food Stamps Program

We've written about the Farm Bill a few times in the past couple of months. The bill, which was due for renewal nearly 8 months ago, has been engulfed in controversy and bitter partisan debate as the House and Senate have been unable to reach a compromise on its final draft. Most recently, the bill scraped through the House after Republicans subtracted the food stamps program (SNAP)—the bill's most contentious topic—from the proposal altogether. More

What You Should Know About the Farm Bill

In a few months, debates will begin of the 2012 Farm Bill, the enormous set of policies that details agricultural activity in the United States. Hearings for the Bill began nearly a year ago, with testimony from citizens and organizations who felt compelled to share their outlook on farm policy. Soon we will begin hearing much more about the cost, impact, and ethics of this bill. So, before the debates kick into high gear, how about a quick history lesson? More

Proposed Farm Bill Supports Small Cheesemakers

Cheeseheads unite! Late last week the Senate began discussing the $286 billion Farm Bill, and reports are surfacing that the current bill includes a plan for increased spending on, among other things, artisan cheeses. The provision, co-sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy of America's artisanal dairyland, Vermont, would help support this "promising new sector of the dairy industry." Unfortunately, the bill will probably not be passed in its current form, as the White House has threatened to veto it without significant amendments. Republican Senator Judd Gregg (NH) said, "I'm not sure many Americans would agree that stress assistance programs for farmers or artisan cheese centers are a good use of their hard-earned dollars." Hmmm, I guess he's not counting me!... More

Michael Pollan on the Farm Bill

In today's New York Times Michael Pollan nails politicians on both sides of the aisle for their collective abdication on the farm bill currently being debated in Congress. Once again (at least for the most part) the forces of regressive food policy, the commodity subsidies paid to agribusiness interests supported by entities like the Farm Bureau, have triumphed over the interests of eaters like you and me. But Pollan suggests that change is afoot, and the forces of farm policy evil are beginning to feel the heat.... More

The Subsidized Food Pyramid

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has posted an easy-to-understand visual on its site that shows which foods U.S. tax dollars go to support under the nation's farm bill. It's titled "Why Does a Salad Cost More Than a Big Mac?" and depicts two pyramids—subsidized foods and the old recommended food pyramid. It's interesting to note that the two are almost inversely proportional to each other.... More

In the News: Jamie Oliver's School Food Fails; U.S. Farm Bill Hits Snag; Cooking Mama 2

Food safety concerns may stall farm bill: "Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she will block the Senate bill if it includes a House-passed provision that would allow some smaller meat processing plants to opt out of federal meat inspections in favor of state inspections. The bill hasn't even emerged from committee yet." [Associated Press] Food crises in Zimbabwe deepens: Bakeries are closing for lack of flour in the country once known as the "breadbasket of Africa." [Voice of America] Italians plan "vote" against genetically modified food: As opposition wanes in North and South American, Italy is hoping to renew Europe's stand against "Frankenfoods." [Reuters] U.K. egg supply threatened: If prices aren't raised, farmers say they won't have incentive to... More

The Farm Bill Needs You

"This is not just a farm bill. It's a food bill, and Americans who eat want a stake in it." —Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa After reading about the new farm bill before Congress, it's clear that food lovers everywhere need to do whatever they can to support this bill. Why? Because for the first time maybe ever the farm bill actually tries to do something for the people who grow our fruits and vegetables, the caretakers of our land, and for people who love food. Consider the coalition supporting the changes in the farm bill: Changes in the farm bill are being supported by the Bush administration and an unusual alliance that includes the American Heart Association, Environmental... More

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