Sunday, March 3, 2013

Food work subsidies not food security subsidies

So sugar is looking bad lately, recent studies on diet are showing sugar (cane sugar or corn syrup, it really doesn't matter which) and simple carbohydrates cause diabetes even more than equal calories from other foods. Studies in the New England Journal of medicine are showing the Mediterreanian diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, sea food, olive oil and wine protect from heart disease. The last two are, of course, the most popular. 8% of Americans are diabetic and 16% our pre-diabetic so almost 1/4 of Americans cannot process sugar well. 

In response, local governments are banning and taxing sugary drinks and trans fat and they are accused of being a "nanny state". But the first step should be to simply stop subsidizing sugary, carbohydrate laden foods and stop being the treat giving (maybe we should say "granny's cookie") state. Out farm bill provides most of its subsidies to large farms growing corn, corn and more corn, wheat, soy beans and cotton - cotton isn't even food. These programs started in the 1930's to keep farmers employed so it is more of a work program than a food program. Around 98% of America's farmland is used for growing cereals. With so much cereal grown the only way to store so much of so few types of crops is to turn corn into corn syrup and corn oil, wheat into processed white flour, which stores longer than whole grain, soy beans into oil and cotton into cloth. And these subsidies actually reduced the farmland devoted to fruits and vegetables because if farmers take the subsidies they plant fruits or vegetables on the same land. They was to protect the fruit and vegetable farmers from subsidized competition. The result is that our fruits and vegetables are mostly grow in San Joanquin Valley in California and a smaller amount in southern Florida, especially in winter,and trucked all over the continent. This reduces our food security because our nutrition is all grow in a few places. Bakersfield California where the trucks collect has the worst air in America from the truck exhaust and we get our "fresh vegetables" trucked long distance from such a "clean" environment. By simply ending these subsidies farmers would grow more diverse crops as they each try to find a niche to grow crops for the best prices and we would have healthier, more diverse food grown over a wider area making our food healthier and more secure and this actually wouldn't cost us anything except votes from farm communities. 

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