Food Policy



Michael Pollan has a great long piece in The New York Times Magazine making the case for farm policy reform a vital component of any serious agenda about the environment and public health. A glance at the problem:

Right now, the government actively discourages the farmers it subsidizes from growing healthful, fresh food: farmers receiving crop subsidies are prohibited from growing “specialty crops” — farm-bill speak for fruits and vegetables. (This rule was the price exacted by California and Florida produce growers in exchange for going along with subsidies for commodity crops.)

This is clearly insane. One can debate whether it ever made sense to subsidize agricultural products and whether it really makes sense to subsidize any of them today. But clearly if we are going to subsidize agricultural production, we ought to be subsidizing the production of healthy food. If the money currently spent on making sure that cheap corn and soy are as plentiful as possible were instead redirected to subsidize the production and sale of fresh vegetables, the United States of America could be a much healthier country.