January 5, 2009

A 50 Year Farm Bill

Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry have a short op-ed in the NY Times today (logins if needed):
Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods.

Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.

For 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. That is a mistake. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billons of dollars to the agribusiness corporations.
Not unrelated, Salon has a review of Mark Bittman's new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, which is described as "applied Pollan."

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