Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's our Damn Country (and food) not Theirs...

This just off the morning news wires: "Though the week got off to a mixed start, the record books remain wide open this morning with the Dow seeking to extend a record Tuesday winning streak currently at 16. The Dow has not fallen on a Tuesday since January 8. The S&P 500, meanwhile, comes off yet another record close, with the Nasdaq chalking up a 12-1/2 year closing high."

Okay, so bully bully for them.

But at the same time, when the wealthiest Americans, including the owners of large farming conglomerates, are doing better than any time in recorded history, why is our Congress considering cutting the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) by more than $20 billion dollars over the next decade?

I think the most obvious reason is a complete disconnect from the realities of the lives that the governed live as opposed to the lives lived by the people they govern.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the average wealth of a Congress person is around $14 million. How in the world are they supposed to relate to or understand what on an average day 50 million of their fellow citizens experience: food insecurity -- not knowing if, or when,  you might get your next meal.

They can't. But it's not their damn country,  it's ours. 

Even though I have received them, I am not in favor of food stamps. I think that a nation like the USA, with its enormous wealth, should be able to create an economy that provides its working citizens with enough income to afford to buy their own food.

Even though that's not the way it is right now, I would like to alert you to a progressive trend toward agricultural and financial independence taking place among some legislators in the Congress.

They need our support or otherwise big money, as usual, will snuff out their ideas. 

Here's one: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced a critical amendment that would  have a transformative impact on our food and farm system. It's called the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition amendment and is aimed at encouraging food and agriculture market development, entrepreneurship, and education. The Brown amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill would help create a better future for our nation’s food supply by aiding small farmers to grow healthy foodstuffs for local populations -- while at the same timed increasing employment in those same communities.Senator Brown: “By increasing access to fresh, local foods, we can expand markets for agricultural producers around the country while improving health, creating jobs, and strengthening our economy.”

Another equally important bill is called The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.

This bill, if passed by Congress , would  increase support for farmers who are growing organic and sustainably produced fruits, vegetables, meats and other healthy foods for local and regional markets. It would also increase access to these healthy foods in underserved communities.  

So the news is not all bleak, but one must support these innovative legislative initiatives less they get bowled over by well-heeled lobbyists for large argri-businesses.

I'll repeat it more more time, like a cheesy cheerleader: It's our country, not theirs!

One small way you can participate is by signing a petition I created with Noelani Musicaro, a food-security activist, to Reform the Farm Bill of 2013 by including progressive legislative measures that will give us increased food and job security, not less.

Please read & sign: A Petition to Reform  The 2013 Farm Bill 

Please also support and join my Facebook group, Advocate for Economic Fairness!  

And please also check out Noelani Musicaro's Facebook page:  Figlie di Fortuna

Be well!  Stay healthy!  And fight the good fight! --  Rah! Rah! Rah!

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