Food Matters – Farm Bill, Food Stamps, Classy Food, Farm Innovation
Food Matters Update July 2013:
See Hunger Games, U.S.A. by Paul Krugman for the latest farm bill passed in the U.S. House, increasing subsidies to corporate farms and completely cutting food stamps. Wow.
- Welfare for the Wealthy by Mark Bittman, author of Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes:
The critically important Farm Bill is impenetrably arcane, yet as it worms its way through Congress, Americans who care about justice, health or the environment can parse enough of it to become outraged. . . .
Avoid fatalism: Call your representative (or at least support those agencies that are doing so) . . . . Let’s at least try to protect the poor, the environment and our national health.
- Call for Proposals, Food Across Borders – Production, Consumption, and Boundary Crossing in North America:
Recent criticism of our global food system has obscured a longer, and still healthy, tradition of food cultivation and circulation among nations. Our own national diets are a product of long-existing agricultural empires across the North American continent. This is especially true in relationship to Mexico: corn, chocolate and peppers are just three of the many indigenous foods that became central to the diets of other nations, including cuisines of the United States. North of the border, Canada has played a significant role in the cultivation of grain for both nations and is a consumer of many U.S. products. In terms of U.S. agriculture, without Mexican workers, our national food production system would not function. These conditions reveal a transnational project, north and south, which have existed for more than a century. Food Across Borders seeks to examine this world in which boundaries create exclusions and dialogs, coercions and collaborations. In our examination we hope to uncover both the ways that boundaries represent true divides in terms of rights and power, and also create and reify false categories of “inside” and “outside” that often do not fit the realities of our current food system.
[Thanks to Richard Wilk for the link]
- Classy Food by anthropologist Paul Stoller.
Recent work in anthropology and sociology suggests that increasing social inequality is deepening divisions of social class. In America class division is evident in our rhetoric about food, in the debates about cutting food stamps, in how we dress, talk, eat, and entertain ourselves. Class division is creating unthinkable third world social realities in the world’s “richest” nation. Class division is beginning to shred the American social fabric–50 million people are hungry. In the absence of a social contract, how can our society prosper?
- From the Mouths of Babes by Paul Krugman:
Look, I understand the supposed rationale: We’re becoming a nation of takers, and doing stuff like feeding poor children and giving them adequate health care are just creating a culture of dependency — and that culture of dependency, not runaway bankers, somehow caused our economic crisis. But I wonder whether even Republicans really believe that story — or at least are confident enough in their diagnosis to justify policies that more or less literally take food from the mouths of hungry children. As I said, there are times when cynicism just doesn’t cut it; this is a time to get really, really angry.
- We’re All to Blame for MOOCs:
If it is indeed time to “get big or get out”–or, better put, “get online or get an identity”–then I’m for the artisanal, the local, the educational equivalent of farmer’s markets. The irony is that while most professors embrace the ideal embodied in farmer’s markets, they have supported the evisceration of local institutional educational identity. It’s time to insist not only on locally grown food, but on local knowledge. I’d rather make and share my own beer than encourage my students to guzzle Budweiser.
This one obviously belongs more with the previous Links on Teaching, Learning, Thinking or the Antifragile College Manifesto, but shows how in a strange way it all connects: what I’m currently writing about artisans, innovation and the local; food; and education at every level, from higher-education down to neighborhood schools.
- Also in the could-have-been-with-other-links category, the fact that I have been assigned How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen for a new planning group, still working to defend liberal arts relevance. But why all this talk about farms when it comes to innovation?