Thursday, July 19, 2007

sustainable waistlines

yikes. did you see the headlines today about obesity in the united states? right now, 66% of americans are overweight, and 34% are obese. a study at johns hopkins predicts that by 2015, 75% of americans will be overweight, and 41% will be obese. obesity rates have doubled since the 1970s. what's changed? michael pollan argues elegantly that the farm bill, which subsidizes cheap, empty calories, is largely to blame. as the middle class crumples, the dollar doesn't go as far as it once did (and, now that i think of it, with both parents working full-time to make ends meet, who's making dinner?). from the pollan piece:
As a rule, processed foods are more "energy dense" than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them "junk."... If you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly--and get fat.

the organic movement is sometimes seen as "elitist" because organics cost more. you know what? 50 years ago, just about all produce was "organic," and affordable. and local. we're not exactly re-inventing the wheel here in the local, organic, good food movement. we just want to dissemble the shaky industrialized wheel that's giving us food that's lacking nutritionally, that's been shipped thousands of miles with fossil fuels, and puts small farmers out of business.

the 2007 farm bill is still working its way through congress. you can learn more about it here, and this seems like a very reasonable breakdown, and this blog has a clickable map so you can see which states get how much money. indiana gets a lot. that's not surprising. anyway, it's your bill, so feel free to tell your representatives what you think of it.

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