Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good Food and Good Policy

I just got back from Minnesota where I once again had the good fortune to time my visit with the strawberry season. A Pick-Your-Own Farm, Afton Apple has the most beautiful, flavorful strawberries, and it's only a couple miles from my family's farm. The strawberries they grow there are a different food altogether than the hard, crisp, tasteless berries that you see in the plastic boxes in the grocery stores. My picking this year was bittersweet, though -  we picked for a couple hours, getting four lovely boxes, and we intended to go back the next day for more. That night a terrible rain ended chances for another visit.

Upon my arrival back in Fayetteville, I stopped by our local Harp's store and was delighted to find a big display of locally grown fresh peaches.  Fantastic. Again, nothing better, and SO different from the kind grown for shipping.

I am feeling very fortunate for the food that I have.

Yet, my good fortune reminds me that ">one out of every six Americans had difficulty affording enough food of any sort at some point last year.
That’s almost 49 million people, 14.5 % of our population.  And those in food deserts had no access at all to these kinds of fresh foods.

I'd like to voice my support for the safety net of the USDA food assistance programs and applaud the USDA for their efforts to make SNAP benefits available at farmers' markets across the country. The opportunity to have good, fresh food should be a right that all Americans enjoy. Moreover, the money paid out in these benefits goes right back into the local economy - the best kind of economic stimulus possible.


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