All are welcome

Sustainability and Food Policy

The environment–the sustainability of life on the planet– is a recurring peace and justice issue. A piece of news regarding human sustainability in last week’s Guardian UK was staggering in it’s implication if proven:  Alzheimers may be directly related to the consumption of processed (junk) food. (See the article.)

Food is inextricably tied to government policy which in turn is tied to special interests influencing government policy. A big chunk of that policy is up for grabs for the next five years–specifically the five-year farm bill.

The Senate passed its version of the farm bill in June. That bill must be reconciled with the House bill (which is not yet passed) by a conference committee, then both the House and Senate must pass the resulting compromise bill. The current 2008 Farm Bill expires September 30 and the House decided to go home Friday without final action on its bill.

There are two inclusions in the current House version that I believe should be of concern to our community:

  • $16 billion in cuts from SNAP (food stamps) that currently serves 46 million people (learn more)
  • riders attached to the bill that that effectively force the federal government to approve GMOs at the request of biotechnology companies, and prohibit safety reviews of GMOs under current environmental laws (learn more)

It is a massive bill.  Are there other peace and justice concerns in it that we need to be aware of as we gear up to lobby our representative(s) in November?