by Maria Rodale
Before your eyes completely glaze over and you skip over this little article to read something more fun, consider this: We only have one chance every five years to make significant changes to how we farm, how we feed our kids at school, how we protect our wildlife, how we fuel our cars and our homes and, finally, how we help those in need eat better.
Yes, the farm bill is not just about farming. It's also the funder of school lunch programs, wildlife conservation, and food stamps (known as SNAP, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
While we write blog posts and comment on Facebook pages, the agricultural chemical industry, the processed-foods industry, the oil industry, and lots of other industries are spending billions of dollars (which they made from our purchases, mind you) trying to prevent change that will make us all healthier, and lobbying to preserve their stranglehold on the government regulations (or non-regulations, if you prefer) that enable them to continue their toxic domination and contamination of our lives.
I'm not going to list all the reasons why we need to pay attention to the farm bill—for that you can read my book, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Feed the World, Heal the Planet, and Keep Us Safe. But I am going to ask you to start paying more attention. Because you have something that those billion-dollar companies don't—a powerful voice, that when united with other powerful voices, can harmonize together to create the most powerful change of all. That's democracy.
But in order to make democratic change, we need to start using our voices and paying attention NOW. The next farm bill will be approved in 2012. That's two years from now. But two years in democracy time are like two days in cyber time. Time is running out.
Here are a few websites where you can use your voice, get involved, and start making changes now that will result in a better future for at least the next five years!
- Rodale Institute
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- American Farmland Trust
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
- Roots of Change (Sign their Food Declaration)
- Environmental Working Group: Agriculture Page
Visit Maria Rodale's home page.