Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Opportunity to Re-Focus the Farm Bill

posted by Guadalupe Luna

Food demand and consumption are closely linked to the nation's agricultural agenda. From the New Deal to the contemporary period, the agricultural agenda has not only exerted control over the nation’s food supply, but has also dictated the type of products and the manner and distribution in which the food supply is made available to consumers. These comments thus are directed at food insecurity and lack of access to sustainable food products for the nation’s impoverished communities. A fundamental concern underscored includes attendant nutrition-related health deficiencies facing impoverished communities.

Specifically, agricultural law and policies fail to reach geographically compact communities in economically distressed hunger zones. Faced with disappearing markets and a lack of sustainable food sources, consumers are forced to patronize fast-food outlets, convenience stores and gas stations--all “options” with direct causal connections to diabetes, hypertension and related cardiovascular illnesses. The alarming increase in the obesity rates among children and the barriers the elderly face because of the non-availability of diverse food products underscore this emphasis.

Accordingly, is it time for forthcoming farm bills to connect the agricultural agenda to the negative externalities and consequences flowing from current policies, laws and practices and proving harmful to the impoverished? In sum and in light of re-emerging food safety issues perhaps the time has arrived to re-consider and conceptualize imposing conditions subsequent on food producers to promote the health and welfare of all consumers.


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