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January Food & Farms in the News

–by Kelly Sanderbeck, Development Director & Story Catcher

Organic alfalfa. Photo: Melanie Conner

In my mind, the purpose for government is to look out for the good of its people as a whole, and to take on issues that industry cannot make a profit from, or is not interested in. As far as food safety is concerned, Americans seem to be left on our own. No wonder more of us want to know our farmers and directly where our food comes from. The USDA is paving the way for MORE pesticides, not less. GMO alfalfa is approved, without any protections for organic farmers. And antibiotic-resistant bacteria is widely present in meat. “Pork is four times more likely to be carrying deadly MRSA than the average American, pointing to our food system and industrial farming as an avenue for MRSA to continue to spread,” said David Wallinga, MD, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

You know things need to change when even the heads of major corporations are calling for more regulation. Seems the only method to adjust food safety policies for the majority may be through the courts because the FDA’s hands are tied by lack of funding while industry lobbyists with seemingly-unlimited dollars abound. Unfortunately, further studies indicate GM foods could harm our DNA for generations, all because they are not required to be tested for safety. And, because this is an election year, corporations and big money will spread their voices far and wide.

“While the food industry digs in to fight public health regulations, the food movement will continue to attract support from those willing to promote a healthier and more sustainable food system,” says Marion Nestle in her 2012 Food Politics predictions. Luckily, new farmers keep cropping up to replace the current aging population, more of us are becoming creative local eaters, our local public schools are starting to provide healthy lunches with the input of local chefs and, amazingly, we’re tending to eat less meat! Progress, one forkful at a time¬¶

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.¬† Now, put foundations under them.”

-Henry David Thoreau