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Edible politics

(article, Culinate staff)

Don't believe that Congress is actually getting anything done these days? Well, there are a number of bills on the legislative table, including the much-discussed immigration reform bills and, finally, the long-awaited Farm Bill, the current version of which is due to be voted on tonight. (In the Senate, that is; the House version comes up next week.) 

A May op-ed on the Huffington Post urged citizens to take action on immigration reform, since immigrants are responsible for growing, harvesting, delivering, preparing, and serving most of our food. Meanwhile, Big Ag is worried about the possible effects of animal-rights activists on the Farm Bill, and poverty activists are worried about possible cuts to the food-stamp program.

As Tom Laskawy pointed out recently on Grist, there's an argument, albeit a scary one, to be made for axing the Farm Bill entirely:

bq. The bill, as envisioned by both houses of Congress, continues to be a virtual giveaway to the largest farmers while leaving crumbs to sustainable agriculture and small and medium-sized farmers. On many counts, it’s even worse than its 2008 predecessor. . . . Would the failure of the farm bill lead to a real shake-up in how the government makes farm and nutrition policy? Maybe. A crisis is also an opportunity and all that. But it’s also still a crisis. And very soon, farmers and eaters may find themselves in a big one.